Construction has begun on the long-awaited building which will house the Financial Services Commission and two other independent agencies.
On Friday morning, officials gathered at the site, which is located to the right of the national museum and below the Social Security Building in Little Bay, to celebrate the occasion.
Premier Joseph E. Farrell congratulated the team that has been working to make the project a reality, adding that it would be creating jobs in the private sector.
Incoming Chairman of the FSC Board Peter A White expressed delight on the day and said it was long in the making. He acknowledged the years of work of Commissioner Dulcie James, the previous board for working with the team to design a fit-for-purpose building.
The Bank of Montserrat is financing the construction to the tune of 4.5 million dollars. Bank Manager Baldwin Taylor said construction jobs are a catalyst for jump starting economies and his bank is truly happy to be affiliated with the project.
“Over the years, Bank of Montserrat has been committed to turning dreams into reality,” Taylor added. He used the opportunity to mention the recent acquisition of the Royal Bank of Canada’s assets. He said the fundamental difference between the two banks, is that RBC’s profits were repatriated to Canada, while Bank of Montserrat injects the funds back into the island. This is the “real and true benefits of the acquisition,” the manager said.
The bank manager said this will be “the first of many partnership we intend to build.” Taylor said BOM has already expressed a willingness to partner with the government on the construction of the new hospital, the port at Little Bay and improving the island’s power supply.
The FSC building will house the National Audit Office on the third floor, the Financial Services Commission on the second floor and the Financial Crimes Unit on the first floor. Acting Auditor General and Project Lead Marsha Meade said since 2007, the audit department has been in pursuit of having its own accommodations independent of government offices, so it can fulfill its mandate. Meade welcomed the occasion as bringing them closer to having a permanent home and the ability to deliver their constitutional mandate more effectively.
Dulcie James said that the design allows for persons with physical disabilities to access each level directly from the street. There is also the ability to accommodate wheel chair lift internally.
The building is being constructed by Oliver’s Construction with the Galloway Group as project managers. The design was completed by KJ Cassell Architects.
The 10,000 square feet building will house a library, conference room and storage for financial records and is expected to take 565 days to complete.