Bannister: General Post Office, Clarence A. Bain building must be demolished
Two iconic buildings on New Providence will have to be imploded but will make way for new state-of-the-art buildings that will “take your breath away”, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told a room full of contractors yesterday.
Speaking at the monthly Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) luncheon, the minister said the demolition of the Clarence A. Bain building and the General Post Office will mean new, innovative projects for local contractors and the construction sector in general.
“Our Bahamian architects will have a wonderful opportunity to create a vision of a building that sits on the hill with a majestic view of Downtown Nassau and the Harbour,” said Bannister.
“And our skilled contractors will be the people who bring that building to life. It will be a monument overlooking our city.
“The Clarence A. Bain building must be imploded. Our architects and contractors will have the opportunity to bring life to a facility that introduces visitors to our city… an iconic building that tells them they have arrived in the most beautiful place in the word… a building that they will speak about when they return home, and which takes its place among the world’s renowned buildings such as the Sidney Opera House.”
A new post office is already under construction in Central New Providence, therefore, the old post office is likely to stand until that is fully operational. There are no timelines on when the buildings are likely to be destroyed.
The former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government considered approaching the University of The Bahamas to see if it wanted to utilize the rundown Clarence A. Bain building, former Member of Parliament Shane Gibson told Guardian Business early this year. It was never made mention then that the structure might need to be demolished.
However, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Iram Lewis said advice from the technical team points to the building needing to be demolished.
“We are following the advice of those in the technical department,” Lewis said.
“There are certain things to consider when you evaluate if a building has outlived its lifespan; if there is no antiquity value, it doesn’t make sense to pour new wine into old skin, it’s just wasting it, so it would make sense to start fresh.
“The buildings the minister mentioned, they have outlived their lifetime. It makes sense to start new and produce buildings we’ll be able to occupy that will be purposely build to take us into the next forty or fifty years.”
Bannister said New Providence also has several schools that have “outlived their useful lives”, including Government High, S.C. McPherson, L.W. Young and R.M. Bailey.
“You will be challenged to design and build schools that inspire, and which provide ideal learning environments for our children, as well as comfortable workspaces for our educators,” he told BCA members.
According to the minister, many of the projects will require partnerships between the private sector and government.
“In other words, there will be work for those who are sufficiently professional to earn it,” he said.
“In the process we will find innovative ways to finance these projects. You have heard of our manifesto pledge to participate in public/private partnerships. These partnerships will give investors opportunities to invest in building infrastructure to assist in developing our country, while earning a good return on their investment.”