The Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament, PAAC, is in agreement that a central body must be charged with oversight for negotiations with private entities when acquiring real estate for Government bodies.
The PAAC came to the decision while dissecting the leasing arrangement of space at the Oceana Hotel in Downtown Kingston by the Accountant General’s Department.
The hotel, previously owned by the state-owned Urban Development Corporation, UDC, was sold to King Church Property Holdings for approximately $385-million.
It will be partly leased to the Accountant General Department September, who will then have to expend $400-million to retrofit it for their needs.
Financial Secretary, Devon Rowe, revealed today that for the last few years the Accountant General Department, AGD, has been seeking approximately 50,000 square feet of space to relocate it’s operations.
Mr. Rowe says the Oceana Hotel was not considered by the AG department because of the tremendous cost to renovate it.
He says that had a proper development plan been put in place by the Government the entire matter could have been avoided.
Members of the PAAC were concerned that the AG’s department was not getting the best deal.
Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips argues that terms of reimbursement for certain items provided by the AGD were not clearly outlined in the lease agreement.
Fellow MP Fitz Jackson says a clear recommendation has already been made to the Government to have a central body oversee such negotiations.