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Financial Complex needs massive renovation work

The Financial Complex was built close to 30 years ago under a former NDC government and is now in need of major renovation work

The entire Financial Complex on the Carenage where the Treasury Department is located is in dire need of massive refurbishment work, according to a government insider.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Wednesday, the official said that the Ministry of Finance has some serious issues with its sewer system and this had affected the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) from being able to function properly for several years.

He described the state of affairs at the Treasury building as “an ongoing problem” that was never addressed by the former New National Party (NNP) government of Keith Mitchell due to its failure to undertake “preventative maintenance over the last decade and a half.”

“The entire complex needs massive refurbishment – not only Inland Revenue. If you come in that building …. that building has massive cracks in the columns and so forth. That building is a building that has to undergo a tremendous amount of work,” he said.

“That building has been neglected by Keith and them for years – they haven’t done any serious (refurbishing)… it’s a lot of work there (to be done). The building is falling apart. The building was constructed close to 30 years now – is a lot of work,” he added.

The Financial Complex was built under a BOLT system during the 1990-95 period in government of Congress under late Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite after a fire gutted the Ministry of Finance days after the general election was held.

According to the official, the entire Air-conditioning unit at the Financial Complex needs to be redone, as well as the electrical wiring.

He does not anticipate the 14-month old Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell addressing the problems at the Financial Complex “fully in the short to medium term” but one can expect “some patch work to address the sewer system”.

He also said that there could be “some deep cleaning to remove the mold” in the building which is posing some occupational health and safety issues for public officers working in the building.

“You can do some patch work – come up with some short term solutions. That’s what they’re doing now, trying to relocate people temporarily in rented space….,” he remarked.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the Dickon Mitchell-led government is looking at a property in Grand Anse in the south of the island to accommodate some of the offices to be relocated from the Financial Complex.

Government has just moved to Parliament to seek approval for a sum of $4m to be allocated in the newly approved Supplemental Appropriation budget under the Ministry of Infrastructure to address the maintenance of deteriorating government buildings and institutions.

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According to the Leader of Government Business in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Adrian Thomas, ”for the next four (4) months, we have budgeted a mega $4 million to maintain some of the very important government buildings and institutions.”

He told a sitting of the Upper House that the monies requested are necessary to support the government’s transformational agenda.

“We will not be able to carry the affairs of this country, if we don’t take care of the workers…and therefore, if the conditions are not right, if the situation is not conducive for work you would not get productivity and we are embarking heavily on that,” he said.

Issues of concern related to some government buildings included pest infestation, mold, radiation, and a lack of proper air conditioning units.

Among the affected places are the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC), several departments in the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens, and the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Finance.

In a notice on Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance advised the public that its Inland Revenue Division is currently affected by an occupational health and safety issue, and as such cash service will be offered on the ground floor of the Accountant General Division, Treasury, until further notice.

“We cannot venture into these operations without budgeting for the maintenance of them. We must maintain them; after all, it’s not a store room. It’s a place where people come daily; and a worker in the public service will tell you that the greater part of their lives are spent on the job, eight (8) hours a day, and some beyond that,” acknowledged the Leader of Government Business.

“So, the atmosphere must be conducive, and therefore we have budgeted a large portion of the money to take care of relocating our staff while we repair those buildings…the AC units must be addressed. We have sourced the funds and we have started the process, and we are going to ensure that the occupational health and safety issues are well addressed,” Sen. Thomas informed the Upper House.

In recent years, workers at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens have been allowed to leave the building and go home just after midday in most cases due to a non-functioning air condition system affecting most of the offices.

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