The process to relocate the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to downtown Kingston is to continue this fiscal year, following an allotment of $132.17 million.
This is contained in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
This relocation project seeks to provide customised office space to adequately support the Ministry’s needs in terms of accommodation of staff, meeting and conference facilities, and waiting areas for diplomats and other visitors.
The process is also expected to contribute to the re-development of downtown Kingston by virtue of moving the Ministry to that area; and to obviate the cost to Government arising from the high rate of office rental in New Kingston, where the Ministry is currently located.
Up to February this year, feasibility and storm surge studies have been completed, as well as bathymetric, topographic and geographical surveys. In addition, a schematic design of the proposed building has been reviewed.
For this fiscal year, it is intended that the procurement for land acquisition will be completed; designs and working drawings for the office building will be undertaken; and the construction of coastal revetment carried out.
Other targets under the project for the period include: undertaking land preparation inclusive of clearing, removal of palm trees, relocation of earth drains and installation of water and sewerage facilities.
After several extensions, the project, which began in April 2008, is scheduled to end in December 2016. It is being funded by a grant from the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter