A portion of the ceiling of the Senate building in downtown Nassau collapsed yesterday, but no one was injured, according to Speaker of the House of Assembly Halson Moultrie, who added that engineers from the Ministry of Works will have to determine if the building is structurally sound.
“We just heard a loud sound that seemed as if someone had run into the building from the outside, from the Bank Lane area,” Moultrie said.
“When we checked outside, we didn’t see any evidence of anyone running into the building. But some observers said that windows above on the second floor were slamming and I don’t know if that triggered the collapse of the ceiling on the eastern wall, but a large portion of the ceiling collapsed.
“It’s very apparent from the debris that the sheetrock and so on had probably expired in terms of its lifetime.”
He said staff and other individuals were having lunch in the kitchen or boardroom when the ceiling collapsed.
“It’s just the receptionist area,” said the speaker when asked which rooms in the building were impacted.
“Some of the maintenance people are checking upstairs to see whether or not there was any damage in the upstairs portion of the building.”
The speaker, who has long complained about the poor state of the Parliament buildings, moved out of his office in the Bay Parl building on Parliament Street last October and relocated to the Senate building.
Moultrie said he does not believe his office will have to relocate from the Senate building “unless the Ministry of Works engineers determine that it is something structurally”.
“On the surface, it just looks like it was something to do with the ceiling itself and holding the ceiling in place,” he said.
“But, obviously, if it is something structural, we will be required to move. If it is structural, the entire Senate building may be at risk.”
Moultrie said that last November, he met with Ministry of Works officials, including the minister, the permanent secretary and a team of architects and surveyors, and they indicated that renovations of the western wing of the ground floor of the Senate would commence within five months of that meeting, but he said renovations have yet to start.