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TCI: Years of news reports show PNP Govt lacked conviction about post office construction

#Providenciales, May 10, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The records show that the PDM got a new post office built in under two years despite back to back, Category 5 hurricanes and the PNP didn’t get the job done despite having three years with bigger fiscal surpluses. 

News coverage of the chain of events which led to the new post office having to be constructed is extensive as media houses throughout the TCI have been on the story since it broke, when workers first complained and refused to function at the dilapidated site.

Since that time, news articles and broadcast reports highlight that the building ended up being condemned due to termite and rodent infestation, structural problems and the presence of mold, among other things.

The staff was moved and stuffed, with all of the country’s mail into a space at the Town Centre Mall.

In February 2014, the former Home Affairs Minister, George Lightbourne told media there were plans to include the construction of a new post office in the 2014/2015 Budget.

But construction did not happen.

In December 2015, the Permanent Secretary of Public Works in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ian Astwood explained that the building should have come in 2015, but due to other projects which took precedence the new post office was put on hold.

A promise was made for construction of the new post office site for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. 

But that also did not happen.On Wednesday, the Leader of the PNP illustrates in a media statement that the 2016-2017 Budget of the Rufus Ewing Administration made $1.15 million available for the post office construction.

However, the PNP Government led by Rufus Ewing up to December 2016 or eight months into the fiscal year made no visible moves to construct the post office which they had on the books.

The general elections of December 2016 resulted in the Ewing Administration being voted out of office.

It meant, among other things, the PNP Government had lost the opportunity to lead on the plan to build a new post office for Providenciales.

The issue of a workplace environment which proved uncomfortable and unconducive for high productivity and efficiency had been a long-time complaint for the Post Office staff.  The matter was so severe, that Deputy Governor Anya Williams and former Deputy Premier Akiera Missick held at least one meeting with the demoralized workers to reassure them of their importance and improvements.

Five years since the industrial action taken by the post office staff and the PNP Opposition criticizes the PDM Government for taking the credit for their plans for the post office construction. 

Evidence is there to show, that while the plan to build was in black and white, there appeared to be a lack of conviction to actually get the job done when Washington Misick was the Minister of Finance.

The new George Brown Post Office ends at least six years of woeful working conditions and while the funds were set aside, the PNP Government was stalled on the project for three years. 

Comparatively, the PDM administration also with the funds set aside, got the new post office built within 18 months of being elected to office.



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