By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
MINISTER of Works Desmond Bannister visited several government buildings on Grand Bahama last week and promised to address urgent repairs at the post office building and the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre in Freeport.
He also toured the new fire station in Freeport and went to West Grand Bahama to see the progress of construction on the new government building complex and new Holmes Rock Primary School. Both projects were started under the previous Christie administration.
Mr Bannister and his team first stopped at the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre, which houses Magistrate's and Supreme Courts.
For the past three years, the courthouse building has been in a state of disrepair. There are major issues with the roof.
In January, while in Grand Bahama, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Carl Bethel and Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs had expressed concerns about the condition of the courthouse and said it was a "serious issue."
They said that the repairs to the building would be a top priority this year.
Mr Bannister and a team from the Ministry of Works went up on the roof.
After their inspection, the minister reported that the flat roof needs to be fully reinstated.
"We have to peel the flat roof back, and we are budgeting now for full reinstatement of the roof. Once that has been reinstated, we will address other challenges in the building."
He said there are many other challenges with the building that must be addressed once the roof has been repaired.
"There are many, many challenges… I believe the challenges concerning the initial construction was overlooked when the building was built," said Mr Bannister.
At the post office, he said that successive governments had done a bad job managing government buildings.
The old building is plagued with plumbing issues, there are missing ceiling tiles, and lack of air-conditioning in some areas of the building, making conditions unbearable for some workers, especially during the summer.
"This is another building made of flat roof which adds to the challenges concerning maintenance," Mr Bannister said. "And this is also an old building with cast iron pipes, and there are issues concerning the bathroom that has to be addressed."
Pineridge MP Fredrick McAlpine, who also accompanied the minister on his tour, said: "We had issues with the (post office) building for some time under successive governments, but the fact he (Minister Bannister) is here and wants to improve the infrastructure and correct the problems going on with the building, we are delighted to have him."
The next stop on the tour was to the fire station on Cathedral Boulevard. The facility was completed in 2017 but is not yet occupied.
Mr Bannister noted that the Ministry of National Security has to purchase furniture for the building.
He commended McDonald Construction Company for construction of the building. "The contractor did a professional job, and I wanted to commend him and the former administration for putting a facility here like this - this is a state of the art facility," he said.
There is a 14-room dormitory space for male and female officers, a day room, and kitchen.
After his tour in Freeport, the minister travelled to West Grand Bahama.
On Friday morning, Mr Bannister visited the seawall project at Smith's Point, the Fishing Hole Road project and was expected to go to East Grand Bahama to see other projects underway in the area.