Pandemic puts the construction of Hanover’s RADA office building on hold
THE NEW J$108.9 million Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) office complex, which is to be constructed at Haughton Court in Lucea, Hanover, has seemingly become a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, as construction has been halted.
A contract for the construction of the office complex was signed on January 29, with a projection for work to start on February 10 with a nine-month completion date. Ground was broken for the project on the same day of the contract signing.
Both the contract signing and the ground-breaking ceremony took place on the grounds of the former RADA office in Lucea, Hanover, which was demolished to facilitate the new complex. The contractor for the project is Morris Hill Limited, which is based in Alexandria, St Ann.
Checks by The Gleaner have revealed that nothing has been done since the contract signing and ground-breaking ceremony took place.
When contacted, Raymond Reid, the parish manager for the RADA branch in Hanover, explained that it is the turn of events, as it relates to COVID-19 entry into the island, which has set back the start of the project.
“Based on this COVID-19 situation, the physical distancing on gathering and stuff like that, it really affected us somewhat, as it relates to starting up (the project),” Reid explained, adding that as far as he knows, the project is on hold temporarily.
“Remember the ground was broken towards the end of January, February was to be used to sort out the logistics, and then in March, COVID kicked in and it really sort of put back the whole thing. I was reliably informed that they are working to start something soon,” he told The Gleaner.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J. C. Hutchinson, who was at the contract signing and groundbreaking, described the occasion then as timely, as he claimed he had visited the former office before its demolition and almost fell through the floor, which was an indication of the dilapidated condition of the facility then.
“It is our intention to ensure that our farmers will be greatly served, and benefit directly from these improved facilities,” Hutchinson stated then.
The Hanover RADA office now operates from rented premises located along Watson Taylor Drive, in Lucea, serving some 6,300 registered farmers across the parish.