By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday the Minnis administration is well within its rights to push ahead with its proposed relocation of the General Post Office to the Town Centre Mall, adding that the current owners of the mall will cover the cost of renovations before the relocation.
He was addressing reporters on the government's timeline moving forward, noting the resolution to approve the move will be debated today in the House of Assembly.
According to Mr Newbold, despite the criticism the move has garnered in recent days, the Minnis administration has no plans to walk back its decision.
"The government is going there," he told members of the press. "That is the plan to get those employees at the post office out of their misery."
Mr Newbold said the government is of the view that the crisis at the General Post Office has been left to fester far too long, adding that a resolution is critical.
Addressing the position taken by the Official Opposition, Mr Newbold said the former administration did what it thought was in the best interest of the Bahamian people when it was presented with an opportunity and given the outcome, the Minnis administration now finds itself in a position to make its own decision.
"They decided to go in a different direction, as was their right," he noted.
"This government has decided it is going to take up the Town Centre Mall option, as is its right," he added. "And that is what is going to happen. Again, we don't want to belabour, what I call the travails of the people who work at the General Post Office; half a day, the air-conditioning not working, the flood from rain, people getting sick, sick outs."
Additionally, Mr Newbold also said that the current owners of Town Centre Mall will cover the cost of renovations ahead of the relocation.
Mr Newbold said it is the expectation of the Minnis administration that the space would be made ready for occupancy "at the expense of the landlord."
A point Mr Newbold said he thought important to point out given the ongoing public discourse surrounding the level of investment the government is willing to put into the property to prepare it for the operations of the post office.
When asked if there was a financial cap and timeline for the renovations, Mr Newbold said he was uncertain.
He stated: "The bottom line is, the post office is going there. That is the decision. And so, if you are going to rent to (house) the post office, you are going to have to ensure that whatever it is you are going to do, can accommodate the post office."