MORE THAN five years after then Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced plans to construct a new headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in downtown Kingston, residents are finally beginning to see work taking place.
In recent days, workmen, led by a group of Chinese technicians, have been seen conducting soil tests at the site, metres from the Bank of Jamaica building where the new offices are to be constructed.
The Golding administration had allocated $34 million in the 2009-10 Budget to start the relocation process, which started with the procuring of the land.
At that time, Golding had said during 2009-10, the plan was to complete the architectural, site, engineering and geological surveys, feasibility studies and the design phase, and prepare a production document for the project.
Funded by ja, china gov'ts
Golding had said the project was being funded by the governments of Jamaica and the People's Republic of China and should have been completed by December 2011.
It was later disclosed that the initial estimate of the cost to construct the new building was $447 million.
That included the price of the land, initial geological assessments and architectural surveys and design; and tendering for local consultants.
Of the total amount, the Chinese government was expected to offer $292 million as a grant with the Jamaican Government financing the remainder.
But since then, there has been no word from the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration on the adjusted cost of the building and the projected timeline for the move.
The foreign affairs ministry spends almost $3 million each month for rent and maintenance of its New Kingston head office.