Journalists suffer in heat
July 27, 2010
Journalists suffer in heat

Media workers at Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ press conference last Tuesday had to contend with a hot Cabinet Room because of air conditioning problems.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the central cooling system at the five-story Administrative Centre (“Finance Complex”) has not been working well for some time now.

The temperature in Cabinet Room became uncomfortable soon after the two and a quarter hour press briefing began at 10:11 a.m., and grew increasingly hotter as the morning progressed.

A standing cooling unit in the room did not seem to have any impact on the thick, hot air, a situation SEARCHLIGHT understands civil servants have to contend with daily.

Some 11 media workers were at the press conference, which was also attended by Gonsalves’ Press Secretary Hans King and three members of Gonsalves’ security detail.

Camillo Gonsalves, this country’s representative to the United Nations, and son of Prime Minister Gonsalves, dropped in on the briefing.

As the press conference progressed and Cabinet Room grew hotter, media practitioners began shifting in their chairs, shuffling their feet, fluttering the collars of their shirts and yawning.

At least one person in the room began nodding, even as King wiped his head intermittently with a handkerchief.

Nature provided some relief; the room got cooler when rain began falling.

Budget Director Edmund Jackson told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday that while maintenance work has been done from time to time on the 20-year-old building, the air conditioning system is at a stage where it must be replaced.

He said his Ministry met three weeks ago with contractors to update them on the scope of the project and to invite them to submit tenders.

In the meantime, an assessment of the need for fans for all the offices in the building was made by a maintenance team from the Ministry of Finance, and last Thursday, a purchase order for fans was prepared.

Jackson said that a provision of EC$1.6 million was made in this year’s Estimates for a project “…to provide extensive repairs on the Administrative Centre, including the air conditioning system and the elevators”. (KXC)