Plans to relocate the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, downtown Kingston have been advanced with a further allocation of $92 million in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure.
Under the project, expanded and customised office facilities will be provided for the Ministry to adequately support its needs in terms of staff accommodation, meeting and conference facilities, and waiting areas for diplomatic and other visitors.
It also aims to reduce the cost to Government arising from the high rate of office rental in New Kingston where the Ministry is currently located, while contributing to the re-development of downtown.
Physical achievements up to March 2010 include the procurement of land for construction and the commencement of payment based on scheduled arrangements, as well as the procurement of architectural services for preparation of the design brief, which has been completed.
Local consultants have also been engaged; a Chinese delegation has undertaken feasibility studies; and topographical surveys of the land have been carried out.
For the 2012/2013 period, it is expected that feasibility studies and other related reports will be completed, as well the design phase, inclusive of retaining wall. Tender documents are also to be prepared.
The project, which is being implemented by the Ministry through grant funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, was originally slated to last from April 2008 to December, 2010, but has been extended to December, 2014.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter