With construction nearly complete, staff at the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS) will not be moving into the Factory Road facility in the foreseeable future.
During a walkthrough of the site yesterday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that the ADOMS staff will remain at their current location on Dickenson Bay Street.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, the government’s chief of staff, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst said that the cost of the building has influenced consideration for changing the manner in which the building would be used.
“Since the cost overruns have made the building so expensive, it appears that we may actually have to increase the rental income from the building,” he said.
According to Hurst, the building will be rented to private firms, individuals and statutory corporations, who can meet rental costs.
The new development followed days of contention between the ADOMS board and the Prime Minister, with Browne calling for the resignation of the project manager, Wendell Marshall.
Browne later issued the members of board an ultimatum to remove Marshall or face removal themselves.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet decided to dissolve the ADOMS board and halt construction until an assessment is done by the Department of Public Works which has been assigned to finish the job. Marshall in the meantime, is no longer connected to the project as there was no renewal of his month to month relationship with ADOMS when it ended on July 31.
When the ground-breaking ceremony for the ADOMS headquarters occurred in 2014, Registrar General Dwight Gardiner said that the building would serve as a catalyst for continued growth in the maritime sector.
At that time, officials said the construction on the new three-storey building was supposed to be completed by May 2015. However, the building remains incomplete with the actual costs reaching approximately $30 million.