JIS News

Repair work has started on an old building at Church Corner in Morant Bay, St Thomas to facilitate the monthly meetings of the St. Thomas Parish Council.
The regular meeting room, located at the Morant Bay Courthouse, was destroyed when fire gutted the historic courthouse on Tuesday, February 20 and since then the Councillors have not had their customary sittings.
Mayor of Morant Bay, Joan Spencer, told JIS News that since the fire, only one Council meeting was held in March at the Whispering Bamboo Hotel, while committee meetings have been suspended.
“We were happy that we could have identified a building that .could be refurbished to be used for our meetings,” she said, noting that the structure was situated on lands owned by the Parish Council.
“We want to have this building ready for April meetings. Our first infrastructure meeting will be held on the first Wednesday of April and we are hoping that it will be completed by that time,” Mayor Spencer added.
Meanwhile, Secretary Manager of the Parish Council, Clinton Gordon, told JIS News that some $3.2 million was needed to refurbish the structure. He said the Council hoped to receive assistance from the Ministry of Local Government and Environment in financing the project.
“We have submitted estimates to the Minister and have started preliminary works towards refurbishing the structure, so we could have meetings inside there. This is an interim arrangement until we have discussions on a new office for the Council,” Mr. Gordon said, adding that the Council has so far spent some $1 million on the project.
Major works on the building include the replacement of windows, doors, flooring and roof, as well as the installation of electrical fittings and the general clean-up of the surroundings. Additionally, he said, a new sewerage system and bathroom facilities would be installed.
“We have written to the National Contracts Commission requesting waivers from the normal procurement procedures for goods and services so we could get the work done in quick time,” Mr. Gordon informed.
The Secretary Manager noted that the building would not only be a meeting place for Councillors but would also be used as a venue for training sessions organized by the Parish Council.