Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahinie Robinson, says construction of the new St. Ann Parish Office for the Labour and Security Ministry will be conducted over a 15-month period at a cost of $513 million.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony on October 19 on Windsor Road, St. Ann’s Bay, the Minister said the result will be a state-of-the-art two–storey office facility with a building area of 27,268 square feet and rentable space of 17,744 square feet.
“The new facility will also provide 72 parking spaces for staff and clients. There will also be special accommodation for persons living with disabilities,” she said.
The Minister further noted that the work is being done through the National Insurance Fund (NIF), the investment arm of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
“It is intended that this development will provide additional income for the Fund through the leasing of space to commercial entities. This is projected to generate income of approximately $26.2 million per annum, providing for an initial yield of 4.34 per cent for the Fund,” Mrs. Robinson said.
She noted that even though the project is for the Ministry’s St. Ann Parish Office, “it will directly benefit the people of Jamaica, as the services offered are open to every Jamaican”.
The Minister pointed out that the project became necessary, as the Ministry needs more space to carry out the various functions that have been added to the St. Ann portfolio.
“In an effort to better serve the public and make the services of the Ministry more accessible, over time, other departments of the Ministry have been decentralised to our Parish offices. Today, we have Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety and Health, National Council for Senior Citizens, the Jamaica Council for Disabilities and the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) all functioning within the parish office,” Mrs. Robinson noted.
“The staff will now have improved accommodation, which will enhance productivity and reduce the long delays that our pensioners and other members of the public sometimes endure when they seek our service and assistance,” she added.
Mrs. Robinson said the Ministry has on its agenda plans to upgrade other parish offices over time, so that quality service and good working conditions will become the “hallmark of this Ministry”.