Nearly five years after the Christie administration awarded a $20-plus million contract for the construction of a new building to house the Ministry of National Security, the project is expected to cost $40 million by the time it is complete, according to National Security Minister Marvin Dames.
“The next major undertaking for my ministry was and still remains a vexing one because it illustrates the lethargic, convoluted and often mysterious manner in which the woulda-coulda-and-shoulda government awarded and executed projects during their time in office,” Dames said during his contribution to the budget debate.
“I refer to the construction of the new headquarters for the Ministry of National Security and RBDF (Royal Bahamas Defence Force) senior command.
“Mr. Speaker, in 2014 a contractor was chosen to construct the building.
“Five years later we are still struggling to complete this structure.
“When we took office and after an initial assessment by a team of experts, it was discovered that the project was plagued with incomplete and shoddy workmanship.
“In 2018, a new contractor was hired to correct the work and develop the annex at the rear of the complex.
“These delays will end up costing the Bahamian taxpayers $40 million.
“The budget for the original scope of works was $26 million.”
The building is located west of the Paul L. Adderley Building, which houses the Office of the Attorney General on John F. Kennedy Drive.
Dames said it is expected that his ministry will move into the building during the last quarter of this year, “provided the team currently working does not encounter any additional unforeseen challenges”.
The contract for the project was signed with Holiday Industrial Builders in 2014.
Holiday Industrial Builders was also originally awarded the contract to build what is now the Paul L. Adderley Building in 2004 with a budget of $5.8 million.
In 2008, under the Ingraham administration, Holiday’s contract was terminated, after then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the cost of the project ballooned.
In 2012, Ingraham said the budget for the building, which was originally intended to house the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) and the Department of Housing, had inflated to $14.1 million.
In 2014, then Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson said the cost for that building had skyrocketed to more than $32 million as a result of “wastage” by the Ingraham administration.