Minister of Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister said repair of the Garnett Levarity Justice Centre is at the top of the Ministry of Works list of priorities for Grand Bahama. “The building is in a bad state of disrepair and needs a lot of work,” said Minister Bannister. “I believe that the building had problems in the way it was constructed at the beginning and so it’s going to take a lot to get that building back to where it should be. “We’re hoping that by next July – depending on if we are not hit with any major hurricanes – the courthouse should be at the place it was designed to be in terms of its construction and operational aspect.” Minister Bannister, along with a number of executives of the Ministry of Works in Nassau arrived in Grand Bahama on Thursday morning (April 12, 2018) and set out for a tour of a number of facilities and project sites on the island for which the government is responsible. Following a meeting with staff members at the Ministry of Works in Grand Bahama, Minister Bannister and his team toured the Garnett Levarity Justice Centre before making their way to the local post office, downtown Freeport.
At the post office, Minister Bannister got a first-hand look at some of the damage to the building, which had become more evident following the passing of two major hurricanes through Grand Bahama in 2016. “This is an old building, and when you look at it, you see the cast iron pipes, so there are issues with respect to the bathrooms, which have to be addressed,” said Minister Bannister. “There has to be a fundamental overhaul of this building.” The Minister said repairs to the building and mold remediation are important steps and that since coming to office, the government has spent over a million dollars on mold remediation at the Freeport Post Office in the interest of keeping the workers safe. He said there must be a greater appreciation for the need to regularly maintain public buildings like that of the post office, not just in Grand Bahama, but in Nassau and throughout the Family Islands.
Upon leaving the Freeport Post Office, the Minister of Works and his entourage made their way to the newly built police and fire station on Settlers Way, to get a first-hand view of the modern-designed facility. Minister Bannister was impressed with the project and said that plans are in place to ensure that police and fire officers are moved into the building as soon as possible. The obstacle that had prevented officers from occupying the building since it had been completed over a year ago was the lack of furniture. The Minister assured the media that he had been advised that the furniture has been ordered and that it should be arriving on the island in short order, following which immediate action would be taken to have the officers in Grand Bahama occupy the new facility. Minister Bannister also toured a number of other government buildings and projects throughout the day on Thursday, including the Fishing Hole Bridge, Bartlett Hill Primary School, the new Holmes Rock Primary school (still under construction), the Eight Mile Rock Government Complex (still under construction) and the seawall in West End, Grand Bahama.