Major repairs to Government House deferred due to lack of cash
Government House is suffering from major water damage because of leaking roofs and faulty windows.
But major repair work has been deferred because of a lack of cash.
Walter Roban, the Minister for Home Affairs, made the revelation during a debate on the budget of the office of the Governor on Monday.
Mr Roban said that $300,000 had been allocated for maintenance work on the property in the coming year to stem the flow of damage.
But long-lasting repairs will have to remain on hold because of a lack of funds.
Mr Roban said: “It should be noted that Government House was initially constructed in 1871 and has a deteriorating infrastructure, which will require substantial capital investment to provide a safe working environment for staff and a safe residence for Her Excellency.”
Mr Roban said the source of continued deterioration of the house was “primarily water through the roof and dated windows”.
He said that a tender package to replace windows was issued in 2018, with the lowest bid coming in at $1.9 million.
He added: “More recently a condition survey has estimated the cost of $450,000 for roof replacement.”
Mr Roban said the department had a capital expenditure allocation of $300,000.
He said: “These funds have been allocated to fund the ongoing maintenance of the house.”
He said that water damage would increase “exponentially” until the major capital projects of the roof replacement and window replacement and associated operational costs related to those two major projects could be funded.
In addition, the budget allocation for general maintenance and repairs has more than doubled for the coming year, rising from $26,000 in 2021-22 to $48,000.
Mr Roban said: “Government House remains diligent in ensuring that equipment is regularly maintained and replaced in an effort to have repairs made early before costly expenditures are incurred.”
Government House has been given a total budget allocation of $1.35 million for the next year – an increase of $74,000 on last year.
Mr Roban said the increase was in part to fund the return of ceremonial events that had been “largely curtailed” as a result of Covid-19 last year.
He said a garden party to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations would be hosted by the Governor in June.
Mr Roban said: “This will be the first party since 2019.”
“The Governor’s office will undoubtedly experience an increase in operational expenses for 2022-23 as Bermuda moves beyond the pandemic with the resultant increase in the number of ceremonial functions and other official engagements.”
Mr Roban said that other ceremonies that had been cancelled since 2020 – such as the Peppercorn ceremony and the Queen’s Birthday Parade – were set to return this year “as Bermuda moves beyond the pandemic”.
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