NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Renward Wells, Minister of Transport and Local Government, casually blew off the media on Tuesday morning when pressed for an update on the relocation of the General Post Office to its new location.
“I will not be answering any questions about the post office today. I will address the media about that at some other point, not today,” he said.
Staff at the General Post Office have been waiting for months on end to be relocated to a new facility following a number of alleged health hazards that made working conditions at the East Hill Street location unbearable.
Government initially announced that it would relocate the General Post Office to the old Phil’s Food Services building on Gladstone Road.
Those plans, however, never materialized.
Government subsequently announced that it would opt to rent a portion of the Town Centre Mall to temporarily house the General Post Office.
The move was originally intended to happen early in the new year, however as the end of February approaches, government has yet to provide an update on the relocation efforts.
While Wells refused to address questions regarding the post office saga, he opted to update media on government’s efforts to right-size the public sector.
Government is in the process of preparing itself to right-size a number of government agencies in an effort to ensure that it increases overall productivity and efficiency, according to Wells.
“When we are talking about right-sizing we are talking about putting in the requisite staff amount to compliment throughout; whether it is at the executive level, middle management level or the support staff for that executive and middle manager level which is not reticent right now within the requisite departments so we are seeing to it that that is what takes place in each of these departments,” Wells said.
He confirmed that government will engage in a process of promotions and relocating staff within various departments.
“Promotions will be a part of the exercise for some folks,” Wells noted.
“You would have seen that the prime minister would have started some of that where a number of persons would have been promoted already. So, we are seeking to ensure that that is a part of the overall program of government.
“That we get these departments adequately staffed with the persons who can do the work that we require because we have an aggressive agenda that we would like to get done on behalf of the Bahamian people.”
Wells was unable to definitively state whether layoffs would happen as a result.
“Not in the main, that is not going to be the large portion nor the lion’s share of what is taking place,” he said.
“[Layoffs and separation packages] will not be the desired outcome, but like I said we are looking more to increase than to decrease.”