Hope for Plant Protection Unit staff

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By Shermain Bique-Charles

[email protected] 

The head of the Plant Protection Unit, Dr. Janil Gore-Francis believes that the new Agriculture Minister, Samantha Marshall, may be able to finally address the issues plaguing staff performance, especially where working conditions are concerned.

Termites have caused serious infrastructural damage to the building on Independence Avenue, in addition to a malfunctioning air conditioning unit, a leaking roof, and a lack of running water.

 Because of these inconveniences, staff have been forced to work on a half-day shift system since August 2019.

 “We have had to close the office by 12:00 noon since last year because of all these challenges,” Dr. Gore-Francis said.

Marshall visited the building recently and Dr. Gore-Francis said “We are hoping we can get some relief from all these things. She has spoken to Public Works, and she is in agreement that something has to be done….”

Dr. Gore-Francis said staff are also working at a disadvantage because, while they are able to conduct a great deal of field work, the compilation of the data is a challenge.

“It is impossible for us to do some of the work we need to do. We go into the field, but there’s no base to do any further work. The staff aren’t comfortable. No running water and it is mainly females working in the office,” she lamented.

It is envisaged that considering the amount of work that has to be done, the project could be completed before the end of 2020.

But Dr. Gore-Francis said that staff may not necessarily be able to work even after construction is completed.

“There are some things that have to be done right away, but in terms of actually being able to do work, our lab area must be looked at. That is overrun by terminates. Bees have formed their hives inside of the wall…It keeps getting worst,” she said.

However, Dr. Gore-Francis said that based on discussions with Minister Marshall, “I get the feeling we will get some quick action.”

The government printery is another building facing similar challenges.

Staff there are also on a shift system after it was discovered that the water source was contaminated with rat faeces and urine, and the building was deemed unsafe.

Staff at the over 100-year-old building end their work day by noon.

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  1. Are persons still working in that building in the picture above? That does not look fit for animals.So the termites took it over.LOL


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