- Written by FREEMAN ROGERS
- Published: 25 September 2017
Much of the government, including the National Emergency Operations Centre, is now operating out of the Ritter House on Wickhams Cay II after many public offices were destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
“The Central Administration Building is nonfunctional at this time,” Premier Dr. Orlando Smith said during a Friday morning press conference, adding that some government offices in other buildings fared better. “There is quite a lot of damage, and that has yet to be sufficiently reviewed and a decision taken as to when it will be back up, but that will be taking place very soon.”
He added that all public officers are getting paid, and they have been asked to return to work.
Asked if there might be problems meeting payroll in the future, he responded, “We’ll have to review the effect of these disasters — the floods, the hurricanes — the effect on financial services; the effect on tourism; and the effect on all these other things before we can make a determination.”
In response to another question, he said he couldn’t say yet if any buildings housing government offices had been written off.
“I cannot make a determination of that,” he said. “I think the insurers are looking at these buildings and they will be working with the owners to make a determination as to the damage and what will be done with those structures.”
The Department of Disaster Management’s headquarters in McNamara — where the NEOC was operating during the first part of the storm — was among the offices that were destroyed.
After Irma entered the building, occupants were forced to evacuate into Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool’s nearby home mid-storm.
DDM Director Sharleen DaBreo has been warning for several years that the leaky DDM building likely would not withstand a major storm.