CIG invests $120k to adapt GAB space for emergency ops

| 14/05/2015 | 12 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Government Administration Building

(CNS): Millions of dollars are being saved by adapting existing space in the Government Administration Building (GAB) on Elgin Avenue for the National Emergency Operations Centre instead of developing a stand-alone centre, officials have said. A conference room on the second floor of the GAB is being reconfigured as an emergency centre for 911 operators in the event they need to evacuate their existing offices. It will cost around $22,000 for renovations and some $100,000 for equipment and furniture.

Refitting the available space was also said to be a better alternative to the current back-up centre at the Fire Service and does not require new construction, which would have been costly at a time when government is keenly aware of its needs to keep expenses down.

After reports from the auditor general about government’s failure to properly utilize the state-of-the-art modern new office building, officials said the GAB will soon be at 85% capacity and that it will continue to find ways to use available space and remain fiscally prudent.

Government said this latest move for emergency operations was a much more economical solution that a stand-alone centre, which would be a multimillion dollar project, and a pragmatic use of space in GAB, where Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the premier’s Home Affairs Ministry is already housed. Work on the reconfiguration is expected to be finished in August and it will give emergency personnel a more than adequate workspace in the event of a disaster or emergency.

“The new, more efficient and modern space, will replace NEOC’s headquarters at the Central Fire Station at Owen Roberts International Airport and give the 35-40 NEOC staff members more comfortable and adequate quarters if and when they are needed,” officials said in a release this week. “After reviewing plans to build a standalone structure, government determined that the best use of the public’s money would be to have emergency facilities that are purpose built and ready, if and when needed.”

The space will continue to be used as a conference room on a day to day basis for meetings and training.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What great civil service brain came up with the briliant idea that unused space in the GAM should be utilised years after it was built?. Presumably this is part of the space that was configured at a cost of millions for CIMA only for them to change their minds about moving in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of space

  3. Anonymous says:

    @ 9:52 please I would welcome examples of how this department has shaken up the emergency services since it was created? I can tell you that this is certainly a waste and even the so-called emergency exercises are so basic and lack any real substance and focus that no one takes it seriously. Try attending a briefing if the island is under a treat, for example, a hurricane. Are they qualified in disaster management?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you, 9:13, and so would most of the civil servants I have talked to about Hazard Management. I think it’s pretty clear that the comments here in favour are from employees or their family members because I have never heard a single civil servant say anything positive about them adding any value to any anticipation of and/or recovery from disaster situation that may arise. I wonder if they still have a public relations officer? He never used to release any information about Hazard Management matters so maybe it was decided he was surplus to requirements.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is no need to shut down the fire service. That is ridiculous. Make it volunteer….mmmmaybe, but you would actually need volunteers. You don’t see anyone doing anything for nothing round here. It’s not gonna happen. They are an essential service and must remain. BUT, they could be cross trained and used to supplement/ assist with the ambulance service. With PROPER training they could have CERTIFIED first responders on the fire units. Take that one step further and train those, who show interest, in a proper EMT certification and directly supplement the ambulance service as part time staff who can fill in over vacations, lack of staff, or cover sick staff and abolish the ungodly overtime the HSA pays out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree with this comment, 7:22.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good move.

  7. Tired of the waste of money says:

    Exactly what do Mcleary and all his staff do, day in day out when we have no “hazards” which is 99% of the time? Civil servants say that when threats occur, it is not “HazMan” that actually does anything, they just tell you what you have to do. Another office that could be cut.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought the same and then I took time out and leant what they really do and realised that its quite a lot. They have shaken up the emergency services quite bit since their start up.

    • Anonymous says:

      And we can also shut down the fire service. After all, how many of us have had a fire at our house in the last 20 years?

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