Member of Parliament for St John, Charles Griffith. FILE)
Government is taking action on 36 of its derelict and abandoned buildings identified in a recent audit.
Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Charles Griffith made the disclosure in the House of Assembly yesterday while leading off debate on a resolution to vest Crown land at Indian Ground, St Peter, in the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
He said the audit by his ministry revealed that several of the buildings could be repaired, and Government intended to establish a real estate portfolio that would make it easy to manage all its buildings.
The historic Carnegie Building on Coleridge Street, The City, which once housed the Barbados Public Library, was one property which Griffith said “would have to be refurbished and put back into use”.
He also listed a former conference building and a science and technology building in the same compound at Reef Road, Fontabelle, as well as Lettings No. 7 and No. 9 at the Garrison, and the Belle Plantation House as buildings under consideration for refurbishment and being put back into use, some for possible rental.
Complaints have been made about the many Government buildings that are in a state of disrepair, while thousands of dollars are being spent on rental of privately owned properties to house Government departments.
But Griffith told the House this situation would not be allowed to continue, pointing out that refurbished buildings could bring rental income and provide badly needed funds for the NHC.
The Indian Ground property is expected to be sold to the Indian Ground Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which had expressed an interest in that location. It is due to fetch $400 000, money Griffith suggested could be used to help repair wells across the 49 Government building estates.
Meanwhile, he indicated the former St Joseph Hospital in Ashton Hall, St Peter, would “not necessarily be refurbished”, but since that facility sat on about 20 acres of land, consideration was being given to finding someone interested in taking on that property.
Griffith said the fish market at Skeete’s Bay, St Philip, currently in a state of disrepair, would also be refurbished and put back into use. (GC)