NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A multi-million-dollar approval handed down by Cabinet has made way for the purchase of a new fleet of vehicles to assist staff within the Ministry of Public Works with their daily operations, according to public works minister Desmond Bannister.
Cabinet recently approved $3 million dollars for the purchase of the new vehicles, according to the Public Works minister.
The announcement came during the commissioning ceremony of the first installment of new vehicles on Friday at the Ministry of Public Works headquarters on John F. Kennedy Drive.
The vehicles will be purchased in two installments, confirmed Bannister.
“Because of our financial challenges, we have to secure the vehicles in small batches. So, we have gotten $1.6 million dollars in the current budget to spend on vehicles,” he noted.
“And then we are coming back with another $1.4 million dollars in the upcoming budget and we will be able to equip the ministry to be able to respond to public needs.”
During the commissioning ceremony, Bannister presented various department heads with the keys to the new vehicles.
Immediately following the ceremony, the public works minister told Eyewitness News Online that the vehicle acquisition fills an immense void within his ministry.
“When I came to this ministry as minister, we had a very serious challenge where we saw our officers who had to go and do their assignments; they had to hike rides in many cases,” Bannister said.
“So, for example, in building control – if you build a house and you need the plumber to come and do the inspections, we didn’t have the vehicles and so the plumber would then have to ride with you [in your private vehicle] to go and inspect your house. That’s wrong. It endangers our staff, endangers the public and it presents many, many challenges.”
Bannister admitted that the same issue was present in the Family Islands as well.
“We have the same challenge in Exuma, Andros, Eleuthera, Abaco; all the Family Islands. So, Cabinet has approved $3 million dollars for us to secure vehicles,” Bannister noted.
“All our Family Island offices should get vehicles [as well].”