By Theresa Goodwin
Work has started to repair the PDO building which once served as the main office for the Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension Division, this following an outcry from the workers about its dilapidated state.
OBSERVER media was furnished with photographs of the building which is to be retrofitted with a new roof among other upgrades.
Senior Extension Officer in the Ministry Owalabi Elabanjo said he is pleased with the work thus far. The staff at the Ministry of Works are conducting the repairs with the assistance of private contractors.
“They have removed the roof, removed damaged tiles and they were working to repair the bathroom. We will be getting a better kitchen and, so far, we are extremely pleased,” Elabanjo said.
The workers were forced to abandon the building sometime in 2008 and relocate to the Ministry’s headquarters due to deplorable conditions.
A week ago, they staged a sit-in complaining about the new location in the Ministry indicating that they were cramped in one room and unable to effectively carry out their duties.
They also complained about the lack of equipment and an overflow in the bathroom which they said had forced them to cut their workday shorter for the past two years.
Staff returned to work this week following a meeting with the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) and the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA).
During the January 17 meeting, Prime Minister Gaston Browne made the assurance that work would be done to repair the old PDO building and repairs carried out on the Ministry of Agriculture’s headquarters on a phased basis.
Elabanjo also disclosed that within the next few months the division will be rebranding in an effort to better serve farmers.