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)