Account for spending on protocol houses
THE EDITOR, Sir:
When I was a bride (many years ago), the Government owned several residences that served as homes to government officials and, as such, were part of their salary package. I was never aware of all of the properties, but here are a few that I remember.
Vale Royal: This government-owned property was extensively renovated in 1962 and 1980 to serve as the residence of the prime minister. Vale Royal has been vacant – untenanted – for at least more than three decades. Would the Government please tell us, the citizens of this country, what the upkeep of Vale Royal costs us, the taxpayers, annually? Please be sure to include repairs, maintenance, staffing and security.
Jamaica House: Built in the early 1960s to be the residence of the prime minister, it was lived in briefly by three prime ministers: Sir Alexander Bustamante, Hugh Shearer and Michael Manley. Under PM Manley, the Office of the Prime Minister was moved to Jamaica House, where it operated in the Guest Wing, a wooden building and trailers. Administrative and executive buildings were subsequently constructed to replace these. Has Jamaica House been converted in its entirety to offices? Or are the residential areas unoccupied? We the citizens would like to know, as we are the taxpayers paying for its upkeep.
Protocol House: What is the status of this house on Hopefield Avenue? Sold? Occupied? Buy whom?
House of the governor of the Bank of Jamaica: Sold? Occupied? By whom?
The citizens of Jamaica would like the Government, elected by us to represent our best interests, to provide us with an inventory of similar residences and provide us with an accounting of how you are administering them?
In closing, I would like to have the Government provide us with a detailed accounting of the costs that we are incurring annually to provide security services for the prime minister and other government officials who decline to use the residences provided for their accommodation.
MELANIE R. MARTINEZ
Liguanea Club, Kingston 5