Gov’t workers moving to modern facilities

Omni Tower ready for occupancy.

The employees of nearly a dozen government departments, many of them currently working in “bad conditions”, are about to be relocated to modern accommodation.

Government is also planning the imminent hand over of new homes to a number of Barbadians, Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley said today.

He outlined the plans today as Parliament debated a $41.7 million supplementary resolution for his ministry, including $26.7 million for the rental of property for government workers.

A number of agencies now occupy the new high rise Baobab Tower office complex at Warrens, and the St. Philip North representative said the Omni Tower, also located in Warrens and similarly funded by National Insurance, would shortly have tenants.

“Those agencies that will be occupying [Omni Tower] are: the Licensing Authority, Barbados Postal Service, Electoral Department, Land Tax Department, The Training Division, Barbados Drug Service, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Sewage and Solid Waste Management, and the Ministry of Environment and Drainage,” the minister said.

“I remember when I was in Opposition and civil servants were crying out … for proper office space, there were walk outs every week. In fact, there was a day that they called the strike day. I can recall workers at the Registry who had to strike to assert their rights because of bad conditions of work,” he recounted.

“At the Animal Pound in Wildey, I visited up there and recognised that workers were having lunch in a sheep pen and taking notes; they had to eat lunch and recreate in the sheep pens up there.

“We believe in safety. Safety is the paramount measurement that we have to use in terms of when we look at accommodation for our civil servants.”

Lashley also said housing projects at Lancaster, St. James; Valerie, St. Michael and Fordes Road, Christ Church were near completion and would soon be occupied.

“Very shortly, hopefully in another two weeks, we will be handing out those keys at Fordes Road to those 16 families. All the infrastructure work at Valerie has been completed, the sewage treatment plant is being tested, once that has … been approved, we will be in a position to give out 72 keys at Valerie,” the official stated. (SC)

One Response to Gov’t workers moving to modern facilities

  1. Tony Webster December 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Every worker in Barbados, as a natural right, should have such 5-star office accomodation. It would be quite wrong, and posibly discrimanatory or even unconstitutional, to have only SOME government Ministers and workers enjoying the view over the fields and hill that are now our very own (or else, the unions should “take whatever action is necessary” to ensure this happens). As Eric Williams might have said, the cost of building these palaces is no problem: these are “good investments” for NIS funds. Ergo, the more such buildings, and the more they might cost, the better the investment, right? These investments yield “dividends” from government, (either or by way of rents, or dividends, or coupons on the NIS bonds etc) as the loaned funds are repaid to NIS. Clearly, a Win-Win-WIN and everyone is happy, right? But WHOA: HOW does government find the money to (1) re-pay the principal debt? (2) to repay the interest debt? (3) pay for the air-conditioning and general upkeep of these offices, and (4) to pay for the folks who work there? I seem to recall that when NIS itself departed their old “digs” on Fairchild street, where some 400 folks quitely did their jobs, that their new place up at Culloden was said to usher in a computerised and highly efficent workforse…with room for about 800. This estimate was evidently inadequate, hence the additional NIS building later to grace the the traffic-lights junction.

    I dunno… I suppose the cash to pay for all these things will continue to arrive at GAIA on weekly flights from heaven, along with all the other manna that we can be sure BIM will always be blessed with. Doan worry; be happy.


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