Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Jamintel draining public purse

Nearly $5m in annual upkeep costs

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:12 AM
The Jamintel building at the intersection of Duke and North streets.
The Jamintel building at the intersection of Duke and North streets.

Five years after the then members of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) called for the immediate divestment of the Jamintel building, owned by the Transport Authority (TA), the property remains a choice place to nest for pigeons and rats.

Until recently, the management of the Transport Authority told The Gleaner that it was taking steps through its parent ministry to get Cabinet approval to divest the building that has been bleeding the public purse for years.

It is costing the TA $4.7 million annually to provide security services for the property, while electricity cost is $14,000 per annum.

The value of the Jamintel building has skyrocketed in the last five years, with the property moving from $160 million in 2017 to its current market price of $380 million. The latest valuation was done by the National Land Agency in September 2021.

In 2014, the public passenger transport regulator bought the property from the Urban Development Corporation, but the more than 60,000-square-foot building, which was idle and in disrepair at acquisition, has never been used by the authority.

The TA paid $150 million for the building.

The Jamintel building is a seven-storey structure at the corner of Duke and North streets in Kingston.

In 2015, the TA received Cabinet approval to spend $370 million to renovate the building.

However, it abandoned the plan following a review ordered by then Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry which concluded it would not be the most cost-effective use of the agency’s resources.