Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet, Hon. Emma Hippolyte has expressed her delight that Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has secured funding for the completion of the Human Resource Development Centre in Gros Islet. Last week, the Ambassador for the Republic of China (Taiwan), H.E. Ray Mou, presented a cheque for $2,902,583.35, in order to complete the project.
According to Hon. Hippolyte,
“This development will be transformative for the people of Gros Islet. The space will serve the area in providing a vital forum, not only for conferences and meetings, but also for arts performance, education and rehearsal. Thanks to the efforts of the Government in securing funds for the finalisation of the project, the people of Gros Islet will soon be able to profit from the facility. The centre will act as a buzzing community hub for all, and will allow business and creativity to flourish side-by-side in Gros Islet.”
Although the completion of the project is welcomed news, Hon. Hippolyte says the manner in which this project was undertaken led to the delays. The Parliamentary Representative lamented that the project was started with no funding for the completion and so when the first phase was complete, she was left to source funds for the continuation of the project. Hon. Hippolyte said,
“We must remember that the Gros Islet Human Resource Development Centre was commenced by the former Administration on the eve of elections in 2011.
Its approval was rushed through the Development Control Authority after work had already commenced, so much so that no provision was made for parking for the facility.
The former Administration always knew that the project would cost far in excess of what was originally budgeted.
Because of this, they divided the works into two phases. The original funding made available through the Ministry of Social Transformation, the minister being Leonard “Spider” Montoute at the time, was only sufficient to complete the building’s superstructure. That first phase of the project came to a close in 2013 without any additional funds readily available.
It was now left up to us as a Government to seek funding and clearly, with St. Jude under construction, faced with a similar situation with no funds to complete it, priority had to be elsewhere at the time.”
The proposed Gros-Islet Human Resource Development Centre, which will consist of two levels, will feature conference facilities, a concession area, office space, a restaurant facility with on-street access, and a state-of-the-art theatre consisting of 500 retractable seats.
Work on the project is expected to commence shortly and should take six months for completion.