Sick building

Govt faces possible lawsuit over immigration office

The island’s largest public sector trade union said it was contemplating taking the Freundel Stuart administration to court over the time it is taking to relocate immigration officers from their environmentally unfriendly headquarters on Wharf Road, The City.

Following a closed-door meeting with Immigration Department shop stewards this evening, General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY while a class action suit against Government was likely, she would first meet with the wider membership to determine the next step.

Smith said the existing conditions at the “sick building” had caused several workers to fall ill, with some officers been on medical leave for about a year.

NUPW is calling on Government to relocate immigration officers from their environmentally unfriendly headquarters on Wharf Road, The City.

Government announced as far back as September 2012 that a section of the multimillion-dollar Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI) car park would be transformed into a new facility to house the Immigration Department beginning the following year.

Last November, Minister with responsibility for immigration Senator Darcy Boyce announced that the department would move to the new location by June of this year.

“I will hold each one accountable to make sure that come June, 2017 the Immigration Department can move into a brand new accommodation,” Boyce said during the November, 2016 citizen induction ceremony for 110 immigrants at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

However, in May of this year Boyce revealed that work would be completed by August instead, although he gave no reasons for the delay when he addressed the Immigration and Customs Officers’ Border Security Workshop at the Barbados Defence Force headquarters at St Ann’s Fort, Garrison, St Michael.

Nonetheless, Boyce said then that the new timeline was not an indication that Government was neglecting the officers’ longstanding concerns about the woeful conditions of the Immigration Department.

With no signs of completion, the NUPW said the workers were fed up of having to work in conditions that were harmful to their health.

“I am trying to find out from the department how soon and they still not in a position to tell me when the building will be handed over. The files, they say it would take another 45 weeks to remove those files to be cleaned. Is it that they are saying the workers will have to remain in the environment they are in before they can move into the new building? That is cause for serious concern,” the union leader said, adding that in the meantime, the workers’ health continued to deteriorate.

“Workers are on medication for life, so, therefore we have to be thinking how best we can go about representing the workers, probably might be with class action against the Government,” Smith stressed, adding that 75 per cent of the immigration workers were ill.

“It’s a very serious matter,” the NUPW boss charged.

16 Responses to Sick building

  1. Tony Webster November 16, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Yes indeed. Paint peeling off da walls and really dingy. Recommend we make it a shoreside Casino; Jolly Roger ey al cud deposit tipsy day-trippers tippers right into it …and evabody would have a blast. Roof deck restaurant to cool off and sober up. Zip-line over to Pierhead thingy …wid shops , scuba, girls, and a nice sea-bath to sober up. Endless possibilities. Switch-on brain; use long-range vision-binoculars. No don’t sell it: 99 year lease…PLUS THOSE 42 years of “nice-ness’….shud do the trick.

  2. Harry November 16, 2017 at 7:02 am

    wonder which August Boyce meant ? joker. Typical Govt nonsense occupy a building do no or little maintenance it becomes sick then move out after employee pressure and leave the building there.
    Wonder happening to the home formerly occupied by the Chief Justine in Pine Gardens now has at least one tree growing out of the roof gutter, or the house in front of St. Winifred’s school which has been allowed to deteriorate to the stage it needs demolishing (mind you St. Winifred’s offer to buy the building was declined). Govt needs money why not sell their buildings and for future work long term leases?

  3. Sheron Inniss November 16, 2017 at 7:16 am

    The government is one of the chief offenders when it comes to maintaining its properties. Steupse

  4. Saga Boy November 16, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Successive governments are guilty of not maintaining buildings. This is unfortunate.

    • hcalndre November 16, 2017 at 8:09 am

      @saga Boy; you lives in the past just like the PM., its the building that is being used by the immigration officers today, that is the issue, the is only thing he goes as far back as medieval times when he talks.

    • harry turnover November 16, 2017 at 10:40 am

      …..and it started on NOVEMBER 30th 1966.

  5. Saga Boy November 16, 2017 at 8:47 am

    @hcalndre I was simply presenting the facts. Perhaps if your party had done the proper maintenance the building would not be sick today. I recall several protests about said building prior to 2008. Sick buildings have been around for a long time because both parties fail to put a proper maintenance plan in place. Can you dispute that?

    • harry turnover November 16, 2017 at 10:43 am

      If the DEMS had taken care of that building when Barrow broke ties with Britain in 1966 it would not have been ” sick ” today.

      • Jennifer November 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

        Come on Harry, did they really break ties with Britain????? Oh I know – they just don’t fund this people anymore. They just holding your hand though, just in case you fall.
        I would not even bother about the condition, I would just think about TSUNAMI and that climate change threats.

  6. luther thorne November 16, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Nobody in the DLP understands anything about the Public Service and how to carry it forward as a modern entity. DLP – Visionless, Clueless , Useless

  7. Freeagent November 16, 2017 at 9:18 am

    The Government has several beautiful buildings that need to be repaired and maintained. Does the union know about the FTC building(s), the stress and sickness that the EMT’s in the ambulance service go through from year to year and all of the other ‘sick’ buildings? Plenty of these issues existed before the DLP came to power in 2008. Why are the unions exerting so much pressure on this government. You will get your heart’s desire in 2018 and I trust that all of your dreams will come true.

  8. Concerned Man November 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    What about the health of the people that visit this office… I can see the worms literally jumping out of the can as I type ;-))

  9. Greengiant November 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    If you at the N U P W don’t know that a section of the B T I Car Park on Princess Alice Hi -way is being retrofitted to relocate the Immigration Department then you are really not in touch with the happenings around you.

    Each time the N U P W representatives comes to the media, I wonder who is in charge there? What cloud are they living on? Who’s interest are they serving?

    I have never seen a trade union organisation so out of touch with it’s environment in my thirty plus years of union awareness. You lot need to do what recently pertained to one of the teacher’s unions. Resign from your post, which at the moment seems to be serving only political purposes.

  10. petra November 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    what about the other govt workers. NUPW you only interested in Immigration. what about the govt office they moving right in front off. those workers there BADMC building real bad. poor workers have to stand up in water in the bathroom when it rains. NUPW come to their rescue

  11. Lorenzo November 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    GreenGiant why as a non Dem you always jumping to this Government,s defense?I understand Saga Boy ,Archy Perch,Big Man,Ras and Mark My Word as they defend anything this Government does but you claim you are not a Dem so enlighten me?Ms Smith is looking out for her members anything wrong with that?

  12. Belfast November 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Relocate them to the Mutual Building on Broad Street, which the taxpayers are paying $22000 per month rental fee for sod all.
    Or put them up in the Sky Mall, where Minister Camera Lashley is occupying , for an undeclared sum of money ,like the Queen in Buck House. (ooops this one may not go through)


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