GPO and Agriculture staff to be relocated to former NTTC building as soon as furniture, etc., moved, Cabinet says

A decision has finally been made to relocate two sets of government
employees whose working environment is less than adequate and
who have already received numerous promises of new quarters.
During its meeting of Wednesday, March 27, the Executive “agreed
that the Sir Cuthwin Lake Medical Centre on Lady Nugent Avenue
(formerly NTTC) will temporarily accommodate the General Post

Office and the Ministry of Agriculture staff,” according to this week’s
Cabinet Notes.
This decision reportedly was taken several weeks before; but,
reports said there was an issue over use of the building, which is
owned by the Ministry of Health.
Allegedly, the Ministry had planned to move one of its departments
to that location, thus causing a delay in the other workers being
moved there.
After the move, both government offices – which are plagued with
similar issues, including an outbreak of mold in the workspace – will
see their headquarters undergo extensive rehabilitation.
This reportedly will commence “as soon as the staff, furniture, and
equipment have been removed,” the Notes say.

However, workers at the Ministry of Agriculture have been ready for
this move for months, and reportedly have been working out of
boxes, as they had already packed in anticipation of the relocation.
Their headquarters has been falling apart around them, with bits of
concrete reportedly dropping from the ceiling, as the termite-
infested building apparently is leaning.

At present, the non-established workers in this Ministry are working
in “pandemic mode” –that is, working from home.
The post office, on the other hand, has electrical issues and floods
during heavy rains due to a leaking roof.
The Sir Cuthwin Lake Medical Centre was initially reconfigured to
house patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an apparent move to counter criticism – after having spent
millions to refurbish the NTTC — the Cabinet is now claiming that
“the COVID-19 crisis was so very well managed that the need to
utilize it for that purpose never materialized.”

But sources say the facility will have to be refurbished yet again to
accommodate the work of these respective departments.
Reportedly, a portion of the building will “nevertheless remain
under the control of the Ministry of Health,” the Cabinet Notes say.
It is anticipated that rehabilitation work at the General Post Office
building on High Street and the Ministry of Agriculture building on
Independence Avenue will take at least six months.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph is again saying
that the cooling system at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre is to be
replaced by a modern air-conditioning system. He notes that the
first system has been in place at the medical facility for more than
20 years.

However, in that calculation, Joseph apparently “has discounted the
fact that the system went into operation in 2009, and not 2004,” an
observer says.

The person adds that the lack of maintenance, and not simply age,
has created the problem.
Meanwhile, Joseph says the new system will cost US$1.6 million and
will be installed in phases.
In the meantime, several departments are utilizing independent air-
conditioning units to bring relief to the work environment, as the

lone public hospital has been without a properly functioning central
system for many months.
This has forced the staff and patients to use fans to counter the very
humid conditions the country is now experiencing.