Three months after the building they are operating in was condemned, workers of the Civil Aviation, the Meteorological Services Departments and Air Transport Licensing Authority have still not vacated.
However, officials said yesterday efforts were being made to have the staff out of the doomed building by the end of May and into a temporary location at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) Inc.
In 2003 the Civil Aviation and the Air Transport Licensing departments relocated to the top floor of Building #4 at the Grantley Adams Industrial Estate. The two-storey building was leased from the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) at a rate of $232,000 per annum, payable by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport.
Delivering remarks on behalf of Member of Parliament for the area Dr David Estwick, his personal assistant Haldene Holder said: “In December 2013, the BIDC wrote the division of international transport of the ministry informing that the building should be condemned and that the staff should be relocated urgently. In view of this, a decision has been made to relocate the staff at Terminal One of the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. temporarily by the end of May of this year.”
Holder was speaking during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new facility to house the departments at Charnocks, Christ Church.
“Building #4 is currently in a dire state of disrepair and over the years has presented a number of safety, security, environmental and special challenges for the staff of the Civil Aviation Department, the Meteorological Services Department and the Air Transport Licensing Authority. The facilities at Building #4 were inspected several times and on all occasions the reports were unfavourable and recommendations were made that the staff should be relocated or extensive repairs be conducted,” informed Holder.
He said the decision for the building at Charnocks was made back in August 2010 and “several attempts” were made by the Ministry to construct a new facility. He did not say why those attempts were unsuccessful.
Construction of the new facility will be carried out by CRS Building and Maintenance Inc at a cost of approximately $10.9 million, VAT included. GAIA will act as project manager.
The project, which is scheduled to be completed within 14 months, will be funded with a total of over $4 million from the 2014-2015 budget and over $2 million from the 2015-2016 budget.
There is currently $4.6 million in hand for the project.
The new facility, a total of 30,000 square feet of office space.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy agreed that the staff were operating in less than favourable conditions, adding that “the aviation department have suffered long enough”.