The Immigration Office at Frederick Street is to be relocated to the Government Campus Plaza, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain by March 2015.
This was revealed yesterday by managing director of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Jearlean John following a tour of the Immigration Office with Minister of Housing and Urban Development Roodal Moonilal and National Security Minister Gary Griffith. Deputy Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews also accompanied the touring party.
John said about 23 of the 26 health and safety issues at the office including installation of air conditioning units and fire extinguishers in the Occupational and Safety Health Authority (OSH) report have been addressed.
She said it was “95 per cent complete”, including installation of air conditioning units and relocation of the security booth. The toilets, however, are to be taken care of at the weekend.
John said tenders have already gone out for the relocation of the office.
Staff of the Immigration Offices in Port of Spain and San Fernando have been staying away from work because of health and safety issues for several weeks which has led to anger from citizens unable to secure passports.
Asked to give an update on repair work, John said, “Moonilal has responsibility for accommodation for public offices. We at HDC were project managing to find the compliance based on the report which came out of the OSH agency. The owners (rented building) made a good effort over the weekend. It is 95 per cent complete.”
John added, “All 23 of the 26 issues have been tended. We have completed 23. We are working to get a certificate of approval. All that was not done would be done over the weekend. We did quite a bit of housekeeping. The office was working and people were attending to the public.”
Asked about relocation, John said: “Moonilal spoke about it. They will be moved to the Government Campus Plaza. It is ten floors of building on Wrightson Road. We are at the stage of finalising the request for tenders. The relocation is about eight months away. The Immigration Department will be relocated by March 2015.”
Asked about the tour, via a telephone interview, Duke said: “They (Moonilal and Griffith) are not inspectors. I understand they did work over the weekend. They are keeping everything a secret. They decided to keep us out. They alone know what they are doing.
“We are solely interested in what is right, healthy and safe. They can spend how much money they want. But there is still a lot of to be done inside there. It is time to quit the games and start dealing with the issues.”
Works completed, according to John:
• Asphalt placed on the leaks on the ceiling
• Installation of eight tonnes of air conditioning.
• Emergency lights, new electrical lights, hanging electrical wires and fire extinguishers have been changed and installed.
• The security station which obstructed the stairwell has been relocated
• About 5,000 feet of ceiling tiles have been changed.