The Public Administration Department, located in the E Humphrey Walcott building on Culloden Road, St Michael, has been forced to close until August 7 due to an infestation of bed bugs, a source has revealed.
People attempting to conduct business at the office today were greeted with a sign at the door advising of a one-week closure.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Karen Broome told Barbados TODAY she was currently unable to disclose the reason for the closure, but that a full statement would be issued through the Barbados Government Information Service.
“I would not be able to give a comment on that issue at this time. Any information would come from the Government information Service,” said Broome, who is substituting for the travelling Dr Kenneth George.
However, three people who work in the building told Barbados TODAY the employees had been complaining about the pest for several weeks and had begun leaving work early for some time, before the decision was taken to close the office today.
“We have been complaining about itching and bumps on our skin for a while now but they [the authorities] allowed it to get out of control,” said one worker, who did not want to be identified.
Another worker questioned why it took so long to get any action on the issue.
“It is not as if they did not know. As matter of fact, workers from other departments have been scorning us. They [other Government departments] were reluctant to take documents from us because they were afraid of the bugs being transferred to their office. So people knew what was happening,” the source added, while contending that the lengthy closure could have been avoided if the authorities had tackled the problem earlier.
It was reported last week that the Ministry of Health was monitoring a serious increase in the number of reports made about the bugs, which were impacting public and private buildings, including private residences, some barracks at one police station, and hotels.