Unofficial report claims big money was spent to refurbish private Friars Hill property among others

The Government, through the Ministry of Works, reportedly has
spent millions of dollars on the refurbishment of privately owned
buildings, one of which is the property of the prime minister’s son.

An unofficial report circulating on social media, and tagged “Without
Prejudice,” claims that a contract to retrofit the Friars Hill office
space for use by the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Urban Renewal
the decision was entered into under the stewardship of Permanent
Secretary Ambassador Clarence Pilgrim and former Works Minister
Lennox Weston in 2021. 

Allegedly, the decision to convert the premises was made during a
period of unrest by the staff and urgent calls from the Public Service
Association to have the employees relocated from the Ministry of
Agriculture building.

Reportedly, the property was not suitable for immediate occupancy,
which necessitated significant renovations that cost taxpayers
thousands of dollars.

The renovation work would involve gutting the superstructure,
constructing offices and bathrooms, installing ceilings, and
installing plumbing, electrical and lighting fixtures, tiling and
painting, and furnishings.

A source says that, basically, a new building was constructed, as the
windows and doors also were replaced, and new central and split AC
units were put in – all on the taxpayers’ bill.

The  “report,” which is in wide circulation, shows that, initially, the
contract was valued at $852,834.03 for an area of 5,814.523 square
feet, and was based on a quantity survey by the Ministry of Works. 

However, before completing the first building, a 30 percent
reduction was agreed to for retrofitting the second building,
housing the Ministry’s headquarters and a section of the
Development Control Authority (DCA). 

It was noted that the additional scope, valued at $450,000 was
completed within the savings from the negotiated discount, totaling

Now with all this work done on the building, a source is questioning
PM Browne’s claim that two businesses were given notice, causing
his son to lose rental income.

Reportedly, an adjacent parcel of land – vested in the Crown – was
developed into a parking lot, alongside other enhancements, costing

Repairs to the completed original building cost $596,983.83, while
the second building and parking lot amounted to $255,850.21.
The total expenditure, including furnishings, amounted to

Meanwhile, the cost for retrofitting other offices and spaces
reportedly has cost taxpayers quite a large sum of money.

These include the Cannabis Authority on Friars Hill Road, allegedly
at a cost of $875,932.66; Social Transformation renovations costing
$682,054.46; Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority  (ECCA)
headquarters at Coolidge, approximately $687, 389; and the
refurbishment at Barrymore Hotel, $2,481,954.35.

A source, meanwhile, is asking for evidence that those sums were
actually spent, especially on the former Barrymore Hotel, which is
still practically in a state of disrepair.