The Government Information Services operation is moving to waterfront office space in George Town to make way for private development in the Cricket Square complex.
The move has long been planned, but is admittedly somewhat inconvenient for the 22 employees who provide information services for government agencies as well as the press and other private entities. GIS staff will have to move again in 2011 when the new government office building on Elgin Avenue is expected to be completed.
‘It would have been ideal to stay in Cricket Square,’ said Acting Chief Information Officer Wosila Rochester. ‘But we appreciate that we do have somewhere where we are centrally located and where there is parking.’
The move, set to happen by Monday, will put GIS staffers in high-dollar rental space in the Aqua Mall, right next to Guy Harvey’s restaurant, stores, and gallery. Mrs. Rochester could not state whether the move represented a rent payment increase for government.
The office space in Aqua Mall has been vacant for a number of months, and Guy Harvey shopping gallery general manager Shelley Solomon said she was happy to have GIS staffers moving in.
‘It’s a big empty space they’ll be filling,’ Mrs. Solomon said. ‘They’ll be visiting the gallery and eating at the restaurants.’
Mrs. Solomon said parking issues, which often plague downtown George Town, should not be a problem at the mall. Some 20 parking spots have already been blocked off for GIS staff use, and so far she said there hasn’t been a crunch for space.
‘Those spaces say ‘reserved for GIS’ and nobody is parking in them,’ she said.
There are also reserved spaces in back of the mall for Guy Harvey shoppers and restaurant patrons, but many of the visitors to come in on cruise ships and don’t require parking.
The move was set to happen in mid-2008 but was delayed for various reasons. Mrs. Rochester said GIS had to find a location with enough parking to host various press events held at the offices.
The offices on the second floor of the Aqua Mall are also roughly 1,000 square feet larger than those at Cricket Square, according to Mrs. Rochester who said GIS technical staff needs the space for audio and video production as well as general offices.
‘We also have space requirements, for instance, for the Thursday press briefings,’ she said.