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Manning: Herrera Street house not mine

Friday, November 26, 2010
The house at Herrera Street, St Joseph Village, San Fernando. Photo: Tony Howell

Did Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar parang the wrong house in St Joseph Village? That is the multi-million-dollar question being asked, after medical doctor Dr Wilfred Chen claimed to be the owner of the house at Herrera Street, St Joseph Village, San Fernando, which Persad-Bissessar alluded to in her statement in the Parliament on Wednesday.

Persad-Bissessar, in defending the construction of her house at Phillipine, called on former Prime Minister Patrick Manning to explain the ownership, approval and occupants of a house at Herrera Street, St Joseph Village. Questioned on the ownership issue, Manning, in a telephone interview, said he was only prepared to speak in his capacity as a private citizen. He referred the Guardian to his written statement issued on Wednesday, in which he contended that the innuendo about him owning the house was misdirected.

“In the context of the people knowing, let me deal with the innuendo from the Prime Minister about a house in Herrera Street in St Joseph,” Manning said in his media statement. “The question on this property is misdirected to me. I suggest Mrs Persad-Bissessar ask the owners about this property, since neither I nor any member of my family have any interest in this matter.” Residents in St Joseph Village said there had been rumours that Manning was expected to take up residence there in time for Christmas.“We hear we are getting a famous neighbour, but we have never seen them,” a resident said. The house has been undergoing massive renovations since late May. Something resembling a shrine is also under construction at the back of the property which real estate agents valued at between $3-$5 million. However, during the visit to the site, a Chinese man told several media houses there to photograph the building that it belonged to Dr Chen. In a telephone interview, Dr Chen claimed he had purchased the house which was previously owned by Trevor Sellier.

He said: “That house is mine. I am repairing it. This is for me, not for the former prime minister. I do not know who started that rumour, but it is so outlandish, so unbelievable.” Dr Chen expressed the view that Manning, who lives in a modest townhouse at Sumadh Gardens, deserves a more comfortable place to live. “But this is not it...This is my house,” he insisted.


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