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Answers demanded on Police/court building project

Both Opposition parties yesterday demanded to know when the police/court building will be completed and how much it's going to cost.

Government has not given a progress report since last summer, when Works Minister Derrick Burgess announced it would be finished early in 2011 instead of its original date of August 2010.

And no update on the cost has been provided since Mr Burgess said it was more than $20 million over budget in February this year.

Yesterday, the Minister declined to answer questions on the project which has been riddled with controversy since it started three years ago but he said he would speak about it in the House of Assembly today.

Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz and the Bermuda Democratic Alliance's Works spokesman Dueane Dill both said they were sceptical things would not have fallen further behind due to the Ministry's track record on capital projects.

Meanwhile Shadow Works Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, who had a tour of the site earlier this week, said progress appeared to meet her expectations, but questioned whether the costs would be in check.

Mr Moniz told

The Royal Gazette yesterday: “We are extremely concerned by the inordinate delays and very poor management by Government on this project.

“We are concerned about the awarding of the contract to people clearly not qualified and then the taking away of the contract. We are concerned about the overspending and the time taken to complete it.

“The whole thing has been a mess. That Ministry has a track record for overspending and overrunning. Now it's a question of how much it will go up to.”

Mr Moniz said the delays are impacting on police's ability to do their job.

Mr Dill said: “Given the recent track record on capital project overspending, and the fact we are two or three months behind the initial completion date, the likelihood of it being completed quickly and without further overspending is slim.”

The project first hit controversy when Canadian construction company Lisgar was reported to have left the unfinished job with a substantial cash settlement in January 2008.

A month later, two false cheques doctored to make it look like then-Premier Ewart Brown and Mr Burgess received kickbacks were found in Works and Engineering files.

Earlier this month, it emerged Canadian architectural company Carruthers, Shaw and Partners was suing Government for more than $1.4 million after being kicked off the complex.

The cost was initially due to be $71 million, but it had jumped to $91 million by this February, despite Mr Burgess pledging the overspend would not exceed $10 million.

The rise was attributed to factors including unforeseen ground conditions, changes of the building code and the need for a larger generator.

Yesterday, this newspaper asked when the building would be completed, how much it would cost, whether there are adequate parking spaces, and whether the recent shake-up of Ministries would affect the project. We were told Mr Burgess would give an update in the House today.

Mrs Gordon-Pamplin, who toured the building with party colleagues Bob Richards and Charlie Swan on Monday, said: “The building appears to be advancing in a manner appropriate to my expectations. The building site managers have taken great pride in ensuring that deadlines are met, but until we have the final costs relating to any change orders, I can only be cautiously optimistic.”

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Published December 03, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 10, 2010 at 3:39 am)

Answers demanded on Police/court building project

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