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'Inconceivable' For Post Office Woes To Continue Further

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Renward Wells

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A Cabinet Minister yesterday said he expects the General Post Office's relocation to be completed before Christmas, adding that it would be "inconceivable" to allow its woes to continue into the New Year.

Speaking outside Parliament after tabling a resolution for the Government to rent space for the Post Office at the Town Centre Mall, Renward Wells, minister of transport, said: "We will be moving in hopefully before Christmas, and relocate the operations of the General Post Office to the Town Centre Mall to get that essential service up and running. It is inconceivable at this stage that we would allow this situation to go on into the the New Year without a resolution."

Tribune Business has reported numerous times about the collapse of the postal system, following multiple complaints from residents and businesses. Mr Wells told Parliament yesterday that the General Post Office site on East Hill Street has been condemned as being structurally unsound and mould infested, as staff there have repeatedly taken industrial action over their working conditions.

He added that the idea of a new Post Office building at the Independence Shopping Plaza on Tonique Williams Highway, the plan initiated by the last Christie administration, was met with "resounding objections" by area residents who asserted that their quality of life would be negatively affected by its presence.

The Minnis administration had previously announced it had acquired the former Phil's Food Services building on Gladstone Road to house the General Post Office. But Mr Wells revealed last month that the Government had gone back to the drawing board on those plans because Cabinet had discovered it would cost more to renovate the building than it had budgeted.

The Christie administration had also looked at relocating the General Post Office to the Town Centre Mall during its last term, but ultimately decided to enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) to construct a new building at the Independence Drive Shopping Centre across the roundabout.

Mr Wells confirmed to Parliament that the Town Centre Mall will offer a concessionary rate of $12 per square foot for the Post Office, which he said was far below the going rate for commercial rentals on New Providence. Portions of the building will be leased and made suitable for the Post Office's operations at the landlord's expense. The space will be leased for a five year period.

Addressing conflict of interest concerns, as the Town Centre Mall is partly owned by Brent Symonette, minister of financial services, trade and industry and Immigration, Mr Wells said: "This is not the first time that a member of the House of Assembly would have had their building leased [by the Government].

"The former administration had brought a resolution when they were seeking to lease the space from Leslie Miller, a then member of Parliament. The then-leader of Opposition and now Prime Minister spoke to the resolution, saying that the Opposition at that time had no objections to the Government leasing Leslie Miller's place.

"This is not the first time this is being done. We, as an open, transparent government, seeing that we have a sitting Cabinet minister who has an investment in the Mall, decided to come and have this issue fully ventilated. We wanted to let the Bahamian people know as to the genesis of why we are going back to the Town Centre Mall."

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months ago

LMAO. Wait until the Bahamian public finds out that the space to be leased for the GPO has been sitting vacant for years, mainly because the property is in such a run down state. The rent of $12 per square foot is but the tip of the iceberg because added to this base rent will be an allocation (also on a per square foot basis) of the outrageously high ongoing maintenance costs for this very aged building. You can be rest assured the Symonette family is not going to spend much money (if any) fixing up the property for the GPO when they know they can get away with passing huge ongoing maintenance costs on to the backs of Bahamian taxpayers. And if Minnis is willing to so lavishly butter Brent's already very large and handsomely buttered loaf of bread in this way, one can only wonder what he must be doing for his other much hungrier cabinet ministers, cronies and friends who are 'breadless' by comparison, not to mention himself. Brent can't help but smile all the way to the bank, especially now that his father was posthumously declared and exalted by Minnis as a National Hero.

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TalRussell 10 months ago

My, my, how the fallen comrade after signing $650 million Letter of Intent - have become all powerfully resurrected.
For a man's more well known waving he bible in faces others - he must realise that the Mall's Lease Matter, does strikes at the very souls Christian's among 91,409 still walking around with their 10 May 2017's all purple inked thumbs..... a constant reminder 35 beasts they sent to sit up Peoples House of Assembly. { Why even bother make such $650 million stuff up ].

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birdiestrachan 10 months ago

The spin doctor is at it again. This deal was made a long time ago now they bring it to light. Never mind who say they were off the Island. The deal has been signed sealed and delivered. They are just fooling "The peoples time voters" because they do not know any better,

The rich will get richer and the poor who cares. Wells time will past quickly and what will you do? Very often the mighty such as your self fall very hard. and the Master you serve with your spin will forget you.

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Dawes 10 months ago

they should just give a figure out for how much the 5 years will cost. By the time the 5 years are up they should have been able to build a new post office. The good news is it doesn't need to be big as only someone who can't get online needs them. Any bills and bank stuff you can get online, sending packages use DHL or other freight forwarders, want to send a letter, don't

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TalRussell 10 months ago

Ma Comrade Dawes, read the script and clearly the comrade scripture in your face Renward had rapid fire answers to series of reporters question - excepting but one - How much will lease payments be to his fellow cabinet colleague Theodore Brent?
So important for these hereto Tribune blog pages be sent with royal dispatch speed reach atop Mount Fitzwilliam, for Her Excellency Marguerite makes notes of into her royal notebook.
God save the Queen and may God keep "the Peoples" Her Excellency to act as peoples watchdog over this loss control PM, and his Imperial government.

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proudloudandfnm 10 months ago

Inconceivable???

Come to Freeport to see inconceivable. Go to PMH to see inconceivable. Go to BEC. Inconceivable is building a 12 million dollar bulkhead at Cl8fton without first FIXING the leak.

Inconceivable seems to have become the norm in the Bahamas....

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The_Oracle 10 months ago

Fine, so let us start listing buildings which might be suitable and available and not owned by M.P's/ wife of/ brother of/ general of/or anyone who can easily and readily identified as a FNM or PLP/DNA or Perm. Secretary/any other we wish to exclude. To wit no building however it looks or who owns it will improve the mail service, but just for chits and giggles bring on the candidates (pun intended) for occupancy.

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John 10 months ago

So what about the piece of property on East Street ( between the Hills that Brent Symnonette agreed to donate to the Bahamian people? Why does this property now have ‘For Sale’ signs on it. Symnonette was a member of the Hubert Ingraham cabinet and agreed to donate the property for public/green space/park.

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