Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked at the ceremony on Wednesday that “everything possible” be done to preserve the 118-year-old building that now houses the Arima Police Station.
The station is one of the 18 earmarked for construction over the next two and a half years.
New police stations are also to be built at Oropouche, La Brea, Maracas Bay, St Clair, Roxborough, Piarco, Moruga, Matura, Matelot, Maloney, Cumuto, Brasso, Besson Street, Manzanilla, St Joseph, and Old Grange.
Exclusive to the new facility at St Joseph, Minister of Housing and the Environment, Dr Roodal Moonilal said, will be a homicide office and facility for DNA testing. Traffic offices will be included in new police stations at Manzanilla, Arima, Old Grange and St Joseph.
Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, Jearlean John said that the new facility would be built within its budget and delivered within 15 months.
Of the stations to be built, she said contracts for eight have already been awarded with ten to be procured by open public tender. “These tenders go out within the next week and a half or so,” she said.
In addition to the stations, John said, UDECOTT was mandated to manage the construction of an Air Guard facility to house four brand new helicopters. The facility is to be built at a cost of $194 million.
In brief remarks Minister of Housing and the Environment, Dr Roodal Moonilal said each new station “will be highly secured and sturdy to counter human and natural (disasters) and to serve the communities for years to come.”
Each structure will be built with reinforced concrete and steel to withstand the impact of earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. In cases of emergencies, he said each police station will be equipped with a generator and water storage facility to sustain the station independently for several days.
They will be energy efficient and will include solar-powered water heaters as part of the ministry’s green initiative. Among the features of the new stations will be spaces common to each station such as public and private reception areas, statement rooms, finger-printing rooms and offices for senior officers.
In addition, each station will have an in-house lecture room, library, gymnasium, male and female dormitories, kitchen, prayer room and a room for counseling. They will be built to meet the needs of victims, differently-abled persons; and for remand of juveniles away from adults.