Government House, where the Governor lives with her family, is no longer safe for them to reside in. It needs urgent repair.
Rena, her husband, and their three children will be staying at a temporary residence paid for by the tax payers.
This news came 18 months after the Parliament was informed that extensive water damage had occurred in the Langton Hill 19th century building due to roof leaks and damaged windows. Major repairs, however, were put off because there wasn’t enough money.
The Royal Gazette reported last week that a spokeswoman for the government said: “Following an interim update regarding the condition of Government House we have determined urgent works are needed to make Government House ready for occupation.”
In the meantime, Governor Hamilton is staying in temporary accommodations, which are being paid for by Bermuda’s Government in accordance with its responsibility to house Governor Hamilton and her family properly.
She said that “Once we have received a comprehensive assessment, the decision will be made on whether Government House should continue to serve as a residence for working people.”
She replied that payment would come from the capital development budget of Government House, but didn’t answer how much.
In the most recent Government Budget, $5.2 million was authorised for Government House Improvements. $1.7 million had already been spent by March 31, 2022. Last year, the allocation was $400,000 and this year is $380,000.
Walter Roban (Minister of Home Affairs) told the House of Assembly, in March of last year, that the $300,000.00 allocation for the years 2022-23 was to be spent “ongoing maintenance”. Major long-lasting house repairs were put on hold, due to lack of money.
He added: “It’s important to remember that Government House is an 1871 building with deteriorating infrastructure. It will take substantial investment in order to create a working environment safe for employees and residence that Her Excellency can be proud of.”
Roban estimated that replacing the windows would cost almost $2.5 million. The roof, he said, was expected to cost $450,000.
Minister admitted that water damage was going to increase “exponentially”, until major capital and operational projects could be funded.
In 2010, the Government had been urged to do something urgent to keep the official residence for the Deputy-Governor from deteriorating, but they decided to not.
Montpelier was a Grade III listed building located in Devonshire. It had been vacant since 2018. The structure, which is owned by the public, began to deteriorate.
The Ministry of Public Works wanted to upgrade the facilities outside and renovate them internally, such as a pool. But Lieutenant Colonel David Burch withheld funds for this plan.
He then said, “At this point in time, I am able to confirm that there will be no work done on the property any time soon and that funding has not been budgeted for it.”
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