INSPORTS to remain closed ...Claims by Major Brown that he did not know of faulty wiring refuted
Minister of sports Olivia 'Babsy' Grange has instructed that the offices of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) remain closed, while investigations are carried out after a fire on Monday caused $1 million in damage to the accounts department of the sports development agency.
A press release from the sports minister yesterday revealed that the fire at INSPORTS was discovered at approximately 7:10 am by an auxiliary staff member who was cleaning the offices and that there was damages to chairs, fixtures, cabinets, and computers.
However, no files were burnt and no one was hurt during the blaze.
INSPORTS' office space is located inside the National Arena.
Concerning the fire, Grange said, "The ministry awaits the outcome of the investigation by the fire department along with the Special Crime Unit, which has commenced immediate investigation into the incident."
Meanwhile, another release from INSPORTS refuted claims by the general manager of Independence Park Limited (IPL) - which manages the National Arena facility - that he knew nothing about the faulty wiring that was identified as the cause of Monday's blaze.
Audrey Villiers, INSPORTS' human resources manager, in the release, pointed to comments made by Major Desmon Brown, manager at IPL, that he was not aware of any faulty wiring at the agency and insisted that he should have been aware after several requests from executive director at INSPORTS Ian Andrews that the situation be corrected following a similar fire in 2014.
"The fire department has informed the administrative director, Ian Andrews, that this predicament started in the air condition unit as a result of faulty electrical wiring," Villiers commented.
The release continued that in later correspondence, Andrews updated Alison McLean, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, on the incident and indicated that there was a similar occurrence two years ago, which caused damage to his and the executive secretary's office.
"Despite frequent requests made to have the matter corrected, it still has not been rectified and the agency has not received any financial support in this regard," said Andrews. He Added that they were seeking the support of sports minister Grange to get financing to address the situation.
Grange has also instructed the newly appointed board to hold a meeting within the next two days with regard to the situation.
"Additionally, in keeping with the auditor general's recommendations, a disaster-proof area was established in the accounts department, and as such, all accounting files and personnel files have been secured.
"The agency is making every effort to make certain that the current sports development activities are not impacted by this minor incident," she added.
Andrews, in the meantime, insists that they will remain operational.
"In the interim, the agency will be able to function with the aid of mobile electrical lighting for the processing of payments to staff and creditors until the faulty wiring in the offices is rectified. This incident has not affected the day-to-day operations of the agency," Andrews said.