Landlord issue, lack of space and the fact that millions of dollars are paid annually for rent have prompted the Office of the Deputy Governor to announce that the time has come for the construction of second Government Administrative Complex.
A report from the Office of the Deputy Governor that was laid in a recent House of Assembly sitting stated that the overall rent expenditure for the Government is over five million dollars. “This huge expenditure on renting accommodation for Government offices is testament to the fact that the time has come to seriously consider building a second Government complex to accommodate departments which are currently housed in rented quarters,” the document stated.
It was noted that the lack of office space and high cost of commercial rent in the Territory continues to pose some real challenges in identifying suitable office space to meet the needs of departments. The report noted that the Department is also challenged with identifying alternative office space to relocate officers that are no longer able to work in their present environment due to health challenges.
The document explained that it is difficult to transfer affected employees because space is a major constraint in most of the departments – with some operating at full capacity – and as such reassigning officers has been met with some level of complexity.
Other challenges faced by the Department arise with landlords’ failure to address, or their slow response in addressing maintenance issues in their buildings that are currently rented to Government agencies. “Some departments have reported that, although the landlord is made aware of maintenance issues in the rented accommodation, the landlord is sometimes slow to address or does not address the reported issues. There is a need to ensure that the landlords are held accountable for their areas of responsibility which are outlined in the covenants of their lease agreement,” the report stated.
As part of the solution, it was suggested that Department heads begin to ensure that proper documentation of issues is done so that informed decisions could be made, especially if there is a need to refer the matter for legal advice.