Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday he hopes to be able to move his ministry into its new building in two to three months but admitted that there has “been frustration after frustration”.
He said that over five years after the Christie administration awarded a $26 million contract for the construction of the new building to house the Ministry of National Security, at least $30 million has been spent on the building so far.
The building is located west of the Paul L. Adderley Building, which houses the Office of the Attorney General on John F. Kennedy Drive.
“I mean, it has been frustration after frustration,” he said.
“I think that’s a building now that they’ve been working on for more than six years, somewhere thereabouts.
“And I think it’s in excess now of about $30 million dollars.
“When we took over as a government we inherited a building with so many problems.
“One of the major problems we’re having now is the air condition system and I was told just recently…they had to bring someone in to rectify the problem.”
Dames added, “I recall one day during the latter part of last year, I walked into the building and on every floor, you had water condensation. I mean, it was like a flood.
“Certainly it’s been frustrating for us. We really want to put this behind us so the Bahamian people at the end of the day aren’t suffering because of bad decisions.
“And the building right on the side of it, the Office of the Attorney General, I’m told has similar problems.”
Dames previously predicted that his ministry would be able to move into the building during the last quarter of 2019.
“Every time I talk about it, it makes me angry, to be honest with you,” he said yesterday.
He added, “I’m hoping that most of it now should be behind us.
“And I’m hoping now that in the next few months we can begin the moving process.”
He added, “We just have to get the building to the point whereby we can move in and everything works, and we’ll correct the little minor issues.
“So I’m hoping within the next two to three months, we can move in.”
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.