JIS News

Approximately $60 million is to be spent by the Department of Local Government to construct two Municipal buildings, and expand another facility, to accommodate the operations of three local authorities.
The three authorities that will benefit are the St. Thomas and Westmoreland Parish Councils, and the Portmore Municipal Council.
This was announced by State Minister for Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, at a recent launch of the St. Thomas Parish Council’s Customer Service Charter, in Morant Bay.
Mr. Montague pointed out that currently, the St. Thomas and Portmore Councils do not operate from their own facilities.
As a result, he said the Department took the decision to have the requisite facilities developed for their permanent relocation. He pointed out that preliminary designs have been completed for St. Thomas, while the plans for Portmore are being redesigned.
“We have sent them (designs) to St. Thomas, so that the consultation with the Council can begin. We had expected to break ground this November, but we understand that the process of consultation must be observed, because what we envision might not be what the people of St. Thomas want. Therefore, we have put that on hold. But, I want to publicly state that the money is committed for the building,” the State Minister said.
Regarding Portmore, Mr. Montague said the Department has been in consultation with the Council and citizens, which has resulted in the initial plan currently being redesigned. In the case of the Westmoreland Council, he pointed out that “major alterations” are being done to the plan for that building. This, he explained, would not necessitate the construction of a new building.
“We started out with the extension of a building to accommodate the accounts department. But we realised that if we re-oriented the building, we would end up with more space, than actually getting a building. So, we are re-designing Westmoreland’s (plan) from scratch,” he informed.
Mr. Montague assured that the structures will be energy efficient, as they would incorporate features, such as light-emitting diode (LED) lamps and solar panels.