EDITORIAL: Did the government mislead over building decision?

The decision to relocate the Post Office to Town Centre Mall has been thrown into the spotlight in the past week.

Concerns have been raised after now former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette said the prime minister called him personally to negotiate the deal – but what of the building that was originally earmarked for the Post Office?

It appears now there are concerns there too – after the engineer who inspected the Phil’s Food Store building disagreed with the assessment of the government.

When the government ruled out the Phil’s Food Store building, their resolution was emphatic. It said the government had “only recently discovered that the latent structural defects and technical issues… would require a massive expenditure of taxpayer dollars in conducting extensive renovations to the entire building which would take at least a year or more”.

Not so says the engineer hired by the government to inspect the building. Basil McIntosh, who has decades of experience, says what was wrong with the building “wasn’t anything of note”.

That’s quite the difference – and his report was received by the government just six weeks before that resolution so it seems unlikely indeed that any major structural problems will have cropped up between his report being handed in and the government making its declaration.

So how did the government come to its conclusion? Is there a report to contradict the work of Mr McIntosh? And if so, where is it? Who decided they knew better than such an experienced engineer?

Suddenly there are even more questions for the government over this whole process – and precious few answers so far.

Transport Minister Renward Wells, when he spoke to Parliament, talked of stripped out wiring, plumbing and air conditioning components rather than structural problems – but that’s not what the government entered into the record.

At the very least, the government does not appear to have provided the public with the full story about the decision. At the very worst, they may have misled the public.

They should immediately release all documentation regarding the decision – including any advice commissioned separate from Mr McIntosh. The government should also make clear who received such documentation, who read it – and who took it upon themselves to make a decision based on it. And if there was no other assessment, then we deserve an answer as to how the engineer can say one thing while the government in its resolution declares another.

A double tragedy for family

Tuesday night’s murder was another tragedy for the country – but also the second half of a double tragedy for one family.

Nicartha Murphy was stabbed during a fight with a “close friend”. His older brother held him as he bled in the parking lot of a motel after the fight.

The first half of the tragedy came seven months ago. Nicartha had a twin brother, Elcartha, who was shot and killed in December.

A family has been ripped apart not once, but twice. Two young men both now gone. Twin brothers both taken by crime.

“We were not over the first death yet,” said elder brother Curtis, and said the family hope to move on with God’s help.

We hope the community around the family can rally round and help them in this time of pain – and once more we long for a day when this nation suffers fewer such tragedies. There are already too many.


Greentea 4 years, 10 months ago

Renward Wells should be ashamed. He has become a liar and tool of the government. I will always say- I knew him when. Expected so much more from him but no matter who you are before you enter politics, somehow you become sullied by the process. He has become as dirty and self serving as the rest. Michael Pintard? Quiet as a mouse. Depressing AF. The FNM government has lost ALL integrity- if they ever had any. I never thought they would be much better than the PLP with Minnis in the chair, but I did not expect such basic disregard for the rule of law. Imagine one party trying to outdo the other in corruption? The more I read the trail of events with this Post Office matter- the angrier I become. What did we do to deserve these lying, greedy, dumb azz, fools? And then I read commenters trying to explain away the BS? These people are CRIMINALS. GRIFTERS on the national purse! And then I realize the alternative is Brave Davis and the PLP and I just want to go to the beach and swim away. The country cant AFFORD these fellas. Utter morons and no better than the guys too poor to get away with sheet in Fox Hill.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 10 months ago

Anyone notice how the The Tribune's editors and owners always give the Symonette family a free pass. Not a word said in the above article about Brent Symonette's repeated denials of having been in any way involved as a cabinet minister with the negotiations for the relocation of the general post office to Town Centre Mall, a property owned by the Symonette family. LMAO


sheeprunner12 4 years, 10 months ago

The USA media has exposed at least SIX Cabinet members for inappropriate behaviours ........... and they have all resigned ............. Same in the UK ........ But, not in the 242.


JohnDoe 4 years, 10 months ago

Let's not forget that The Resolution put before the House also said, "AND WHEREAS one of the beneficial owners of the said Town Centre Mall is a serving Cabinet Minister, who did not take part in the discussions leading to the decision to accept the offer to lease portions of the building, which will be made suitable for the operations of the General Post Office at the expense of the landlord; which Minister has nonetheless declared his interest; . . .” By Mr. Symonette's own admission to the contrary, serious questions now must be answered as to whether the House was also misled on this material fact as it relates to the conflict of interest the Resolution was designed to remedy.


Truism 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Symonette's interview emphatically branded the resolution an abuse of the parliament. The resolution was a bold face lie. The height of wutlessness. LMAO


themessenger 4 years, 10 months ago

What many seem to be missing is that while Mr. McIntosh is acknowledged as a STRUCTURAL Engineer enabling him to comment on any structural issues the building might or might not have, does this also qualify him to pass judgement on any MEP, mechanical, electrical, plumbing issues, or quantify the costs involved with those? Where are the reports of the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing engineers or does Mr. McIntosh speak for them also???


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