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More than 60 vacant posts defunded at public works ministry

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Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, details the 2021-22 Budget (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A total of 62.5 vacant posts have been defunded by the public works ministry, the public works minister revealed today.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the cost-cutting measure came after the ministry’s allocation was cut by almost $4 million to $67 million by finance minister Curtis Dickinson in the 2021/22 Budget.

At a press conference today, Colonel Burch added: “There are only two areas where these funds can come from – staffing or operations.

“The ministry worked to find areas to save costs without reducing staff.”

Colonel Burch said savings were also found in “reduced operations across the ministry” as well as a cut in the maintenance and operating budget for vehicles and a reduction in training.

A reduced budget of $5.61 million, down 9.5 per cent from 2020-21, at the ministry’s headquarters came mainly from a transfer of staff out of the human resources section into the Department of Employee and Organisational Development.

Lands and Buildings was allocated $19.61 million, down 1.6 per cent from 2020-21, and 13 vacant posts were defunded.

Works and Engineering, at $26.975 million, has been cut by $2.32 million through a cut in maintenance costs.

Colonel Burch said: “This decrease is due to not funding some 23 vacant posts and reducing maintenance costs for the ministry’s fleet of vehicles.”

The Department of Parks has been allocated $8.76 million, down 5.67 per cent, with 18 vacant posts defunded as well as reduction in operations.

But the ministry’s economic stimulus plan is to go ahead despite the reduced funding because of the “urgent need” to boost employment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Colonel Burch said: “It involved compiling a list of shovel-ready projects that are executable within three months. These are mainly infrastructure improvements.”

A total of 48 projects have been approved from a 100 plus list of submissions from contractors.

Colonel Burch said the ministry released the first requests for quotes on February 22.

He added some projects in the economic stimulus programme had already started.

Solar panels are being installed on Government buildings, including the Government Administration Building, the Post Office and Global House, all Hamilton, and at the bus garage in Devonshire.

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Published March 03, 2021 at 7:17 am (Updated March 03, 2021 at 7:17 am)

More than 60 vacant posts defunded at public works ministry

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