‘My flock built castle Cuffie’
By VASHTEE ACHIBER Monday, December 5 2011
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CASTLE CUFFIE: This magnificent castle off the main road in Mc Bean Village, Couva and a restaurant, in the shape of a ship (below) are the proud desi...
IT IS A castle fit for a King. However, the fact that he lives in such a sprawling, majestic edifice off the main road in McBean Village, Couva is not what well-known Pentecostal Pastor Winston Cuffie is most proud of.
“I am a modest man. What you see here, no set of money was spent on labour. Everything you see here was done by volunteers from my flock at Miracle Ministries. And that is what I am most proud of,” Pastor Cuffie said.
“You will not find another building like this in any part of the world. It is unique because the design came out of my head! I like to design,” Cuffie said in proud reference to his Chase Village edifice.
Passers-by gaze in admiration at the magnificent structure and even tourists stop to pose for pictures in front of the castle which looks like something straight out of Walt Disney’s Magical Kingdom. It even has steeples. The only thing missing is a draw bridge and moat.
Pastor Cuffie said the structure is not new. “It was just a renovation of the existing structure. The original foundation, floors and concrete walls are the same. We changed some of the windows, replaced the old roof with a steel one, put in some columns and an arch. What’s different is the facade...that’s what we worked on.”
The five bedroom building he explained fits snugly into just over one lot of land which he inherited from his father. Asked about the cost, Pastor Cuffie said: “No set of money was spent on labour for the building. Everything you see here, was done by volunteers from the church (Miracle Ministries). When they finished building the Christ Castle in Chase Village, the same workmen came over and said ‘we going and build Cuffie’s castle now’,” Cuffie said.
Pastor Cuffie said his flock at Miracle Ministries numbers about 5,000 and volunteers with various skills such as masonry and painting, came forward to assist. “And it is not just my house you know, we help each other and we do the same for the community. Whoever is in need (we assist). Our community work is well known in the country.”
Renovation to the structure began in 1983 according to Pastor Cuffie following the death of his father, John Cuffie . “He was a Caroni worker” he said proudly. He explained that he and his brother merged their salaries and began the renovations with aggregate material that were already on the ground and a loan from the now defunct Worker’s bank.
Asked whether he would consider selling his home, Pastor Cuffie gave an emphatic: “No!” My father was born here in 1912. I was born here and grew up right here. My siblings were born here. This house has much sentimental value to me. I cannot sell it...it’s not for sale.”
A short distance from “castle Cuffie” stands a building, still under construction, that has the shape and appearance of a cruise ship. The design concept for the ship structure also came from Cuffie. He said once completed, the structure would house a restaurant.
“We are still searching for a name and formulating a menu. But by the time we are ready to open in mid January we should have a name. Right now it is simply referred to as the “the Ship Restaurant.”