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A new parish office of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is to be constructed in St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann, at a cost of some $270 million.

This was announced by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, when he toured the office and addressed the staff on November 21.

“We have advertised for architectural services and presently we are reviewing the expressions of interest as we carefully put together a professional team that will provide the most cost-efficient design and aesthetically pleasing office facility,” Mr. Kellier noted, adding that ground should be broken in the first quarter of 2013/14.

The Minister pointed out that construction is expected to last between 15 and 18 months, and should provide more comfort for the 42 staff members.

“I wish to add my words of appreciation to you for the excellent work that you have been doing.  Sometimes you have been asked to go a little beyond the call of duty, but you have responded well, as in the cases of disasters and other challenges,” Mr. Kellier said.

“The environment in which you work has been noted and because we believe in productivity, we want to make sure that as the Ministry responsible for the Jamaica Productivity Centre, that we at Labour try to create the environment within which our own workers can give the highest levels of productivity to its clients,” he added.

The Minister said that the present facility is inadequate for the work being done, “so we have made a commitment to provide suitable accommodation for both our staff and our clients."

“We have done some improvements in some other areas and we intend to continue here. Consequently, through the National Insurance Fund, the Ministry will be redeveloping this site over the next 15 to 18 months into a modern public service office complex that will provide accommodation for the operations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This is for our pensioners, our PATH recipients, senior citizens, labour services, and persons with disabilities,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that additional space will be made available for other government agencies, which may be in need of space for rent.

“We want to ensure that the new building is energy efficient using as much of our natural resources as possible. It’s also going to be easily accessible for our pensioners, and the physically challenged and there will be adequate parking for everyone,” he said.