The Legislative Assembly passed a Private Member’s Motion Friday agreeing to consider changing the location of the Governor’s residence.
The motion, moved by West Bay MLA Cline Glidden and seconded by district colleague Rolston Anglin, received full support by the Government, although the Opposition voted against it.
Mr. Glidden said that in light of Hurricane Ivan, the Government learned a lesson about reducing financial and property risks.
He also noted that the Governor’s safety in the current location of his residence is at issue during a hurricane.
Furthermore, Mr. Glidden said the property could be used in better ways.
‘For quite a long time I have felt that piece of land could be much better utilized by the people of these Islands as recreational use,’ he said.
‘It is prudent for the Government to look at moving the Governor’s house to a safer location.’
Mr. Glidden suggested the location could be an inland location, where a more estate-like residence could be built in a more secure location.
Acknowledging there would be a cost of building such a new residence, Mr. Glidden said that expense would be mitigated by the Government getting a valuable property for use by the public.
Mr. Glidden said the current Governor’s house could then be used as a tourist attraction, and a place for official functions. He also suggested it could be converted into a restaurant.
West Bay MLA’s Rolston Anglin and Captain Eugene Ebanks also spoke in support of the motion.
‘Local people have difficulty finding places on weekends and holidays to go to the beach,’ said Mr. Ebanks.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Chief Secretary George McCarthy said for reasons of the Governor’s security, safety and privacy, the motion should be considered.
George Town MLA Alden McLaughlin expressed the Opposition’s views on the motion.
‘This is surreal,’ he said. ‘It really is.
‘Government is in a difficult position. We just went through a long Finance Committee in which Government had to take $25 million in loans just to get us through June of this year.
‘The Health Services Authority is in dire financial straits.
‘The Education plant will take, in my estimation, $100 million to get it up to where it needs to be.
‘How can they shamelessly come here and ask the Government to consider another huge outlay to build the Governor another mansion?’ he asked.
Mr. McLaughlin indicated the idea had merit to be discussed sometime in the future.
However, he said it was not the time to talk about this topic just five months after the hurricane.
‘I ask the member to withdraw this motion so we can get on to the serious business of the House,’ he concluded.
In his response, Mr. Glidden said the move would not occur now.
‘It’s not something that would happen overnight, but sometime in the future.’
Mr. Glidden chided Mr. McLaughlin for his lack of foresight and planning.
‘I’m happy to be part of a Government that looks at what the future has to hold.’