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UBP reminds Govt. of missed court building deadline

The new police/court building - the UBP claim a deadline for completion has been missed.

Government appears to have missed its self-imposed deadline to complete the police/court building, Shadow Works Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin claimed yesterday.Earlier this month, Works Minister Derrick Burgess said all construction aspects of the controversial project would be finished, with part of the building furnished, by December 31.However as that date loomed yesterday, Mrs Gordon-Pamplin told The Royal Gazette: “I have not had interior sight of the progress since the end of November/early December.“The Minister was sure that the work would be finished by December 31, however, all visual indications are that there is still much to be done before it can be considered complete.“A December 31 deadline may have been ambitious, however, we look forward to the completion in the not-too-distant future.“If that fails, we shall certainly be asking questions as to the reasons for any further delay.”Government has been repeatedly criticised for taking too long to erect the building, named after former Progressive Labour Party leader Dame Lois Browne-Evans; its initial opening deadline was August 2010.Meanwhile the estimated total cost of $91.8 million is $13.8 million more than the original total allowed funding of $78 million.Deputy United Bermuda Party leader Trevor Moniz has accused Government of poor management, although Mr Burgess argues rising costs and delays have been down to unforeseen ground conditions and errors and omissions on construction drawings.The decision to hire Pennsylvania sculptor Zenos Frudakis instead of a local artist to create the statue of Dame Lois has also come under fire, although Mr Burgess says he was selected because of his reputation and ability to work at short notice and low cost.Mr Burgess could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he said in a Ministerial Statement on Friday, December 3: “I am delighted to note that this major construction project is fast approaching completion.“In fact, it is our expectation that all construction aspects will be complete and the buildings partially furnished by December 31, 2010.“It is our further expectation that the building will be completely furnished in January, with the first tenants moving into the building at that time. The building's official opening will occur around that time.”