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Government Estates and Information Services Ministry budget debated

United Bermuda Party MP John Barritt suggested Government is adding more bureaucracy with the newly named Ministry of Government Estates and Information Services.

Minister Neletha Butterfield is in charge of the Ministry, formerly called Public Information Services, which consists of the national library, archives, Registry General, IT, public land and buildings and E-Government.

Mr Barritt told the House of Assembly he couldn't understand why such an “eclectic mix of departments” had been brought together under one Ministry. “Are we creating another unnecessary bureaucracy? What is the problem the Government is trying to solve by bringing all these together in one Ministry? What is going on?” asked the veteran politician.

He said many of the Ministry's functions for public land and buildings would fit better under Public Works.

Delivering a speech on her Ministry in the Budget debate, Ms Butterfield said some Government buildings could be knocked down due to mould problems.

“Most major Government buildings were constructed at least 30 years ago,” she said.

“Over the past 20 to 30 years, many of our facilities have received only basic reactive maintenance and no planned or programmed maintenance.

“This practice has resulted in a portfolio of buildings which are currently facing major refurbishment with their physical plant and major systems having reached the end of their life cycle. The evaluation as to whether such buildings should be refurbished or even demolished will be assessed through the asset management plans being prepared by our estates section.”

She said mould remediation work has been completed in the Attorney General's chambers in Global House.

Ms Butterfield also gave details on Government's efforts to take advantage of modern technology. She said geographic information technology is being implemented across a growing number of departments, while Government's websites are being redeveloped.

Of all public internet users, 47 percent use gov.bm. Ms Butterfield says Government wants to increase that figure to 57 percent over the next fiscal year.

Bermuda Democratic Alliance MP Donte Hunt, who described himself as a techie, criticised the website, which he said is “challenging to navigate”.

Minister of Public Information Services Neletha Butterfield

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Published March 07, 2011 at 9:01 am (Updated March 07, 2011 at 9:01 am)

Government Estates and Information Services Ministry budget debated

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