Spent $3 million last year
By Staff Writer
The Government of National Unity has created a working committee to review and make recommendations on office space being rented to house official government business, according to Ian Liburd, Minister with Responsibility for Public Infrastructure.
He said the government wants to reduce the cost of renting space and added that a number of govenrment buildings are presently vacant. Last year, the government spent EC$3 million to rent office space.
Mr. Liburd said over a 10-year period, the federal government spent more than $17 million sto rent office space, including Port Zante, a place of contention, and that does not include 2015. He added that this must be a ‘short-sighted approach to our development as a government.’
Once it receives recommendations from the committee, the government will rehabilitate the buildings and come up with a way of moving forward to determine where operations will be housed. At present, several old government buildings are under renovation, including the old Development Bank office which needs repairs.
He said, “We are going to look at the state of government buildings, the cost to repair them and locate offices in those buildings. There are several buildings on Church Street below and above government headquarters that we believe we can spend some monies on and from the rent we are paying we can recover on those buildings.” He also said government headquarters nees to be upgraded.
The Public Works Department is currently estimating total costs to rehabilitate the government building, he added. Because no costs have been established for the needed repairs, this will be looked to when the new budget is passed later this year. Costs will include maintenance of all public buildings which at present is inadequate. One of the objectives is to have the various Ministries come under one roof instead of being split around the island on Church Street, Port Zante and the Bladen Complex.