|Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy (centre), makes a point to chairman of Barbados Conference Services Ltd, Algernon Leacock, and Chief Executive Officer, Charmaine London, during a tour of the car park. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
The conference facilities at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), Two Mile Hill, St. Michael were brought a step closer to completion today, when its multi-storey car park was officially opened.
Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, explained that the project, which began in May 2011, was completed on time and was almost a million dollars under budget.?? He observed that the LESC had a vital role to play in providing high-end conference and office space.
"Given the needs of Barbados, our developmental needs [and] as a destination looking at conference tourism, it was [decided] that the best economic use of this centre would have been…rather than construct an auditorium that would have minimal use, that we could have some office space to deal with the shortage in Barbados.
"So, we are completing the centre, but at the same time we will continue with the mixed use operation," he said, adding that a necessary component was the provision of adequate parking.?? The Minister noted it had been determined that 300 parking spaces would be necessary to cater to the centre and the newly built car park more than met the requirement.
"I am satisfied with the quality of [the car park]…321 car parking spaces…it has three and a half floors with seven levels of parking…We have allowed for those persons who are differently abled, and they [are dedicated] parking spots on four of the seven levels.?? In terms of the centre [offices], when it is completed, it will be very much friendly to the physically challenged, in terms of access at every level," Mr. Sealy stressed.??
He added that this issue of access was a concern "with the existing facility.?? Some provision has been made, but there are still some areas of the building that are a little difficult to reach and we are determined to address that," he assured.?? The Tourism Minister also noted that the multi-storey lot also featured an eight-passenger elevator which served all levels; height clearance of six feet 10 inches; and adequate lighting and security surveillance by CCTV monitoring.??
In relation to the completion of the offices, Mr. Sealy said:
"The four storey office building which is being worked on, [which] started on April 18, 2011, we anticipate that it should be completed by May 2013," he said, but expressed the hope that the project could be accelerated for an earlier completion date.?? He stated that it was expected that "our number one client will be the government of Barbados…We do not accept the fact that there should be one standard for private sector personnel, and then public officers should have a substandard.?? This is class ???A’ office space that we are building here and there is absolutely no reason why government departments should not enjoy that quality of office accommodation," he emphasised.??
The Minister also extended thanks to the Chairman of the Board of Barbados Conference Services Limited, Algernon Leacock, and his team; and other project contributors, including Preconco Inc., which was dedicated to the design and construction of the car park.
"I look forward to…a year from now, when we will be opening the…office and conference facility, and, indeed, the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre will be a project that all of us as Barbadians can be truly proud of," he said.