Answer to Question by the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration,
Honourable Vincent Wheatley
At the Sitting of the 5th Sitting, 2nd Session, 4th House of Assembly,
Tuesday 25th February, 2020 – Public Restroom Availability
Mr. Speaker, could the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration please tell this Honourable House if the public restroom is open on weekends or days when Cruise Ships are not in Port?
- If the answer is no, please tell this Honourable House why not?
- Also please advise what his Ministry is doing to have rest room facilities available to our Residents, even on days when we don’t have cruise ships in port?
- Mr. Speaker, the public restrooms that fall under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration are not normally opened on weekends or on days when cruise ships are not in port. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration continues to receive a restroom upkeep budget that has proven to be a financial challenge for many years. Currently, the Ministry manages a total of three restroom facilities: one at Great Harbour (JVD), Long Bay (Beef Island) and Cane Garden Bay. Additionally, the Ministry was apprised of increased beach use at Josiah’s Bay. Consequently, we were forced to make provisions for portable facilities to be stationed at Josiah’s Bay pending the completion of the existing structure.
Mr. Speaker, in 2018 the restroom facilities at Great Harbour and Cane Garden Bay were transferred from the Ministry of Health and Social Development to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, along with a maintenance budget of $4,000 annually. At that time, we were then informed that the facility at Cane Garden Bay was kept closed on days when ships were not in port and also on weekends due to the constant vandalism and an insufficient budget. Mr. Speaker, this Ministry has since made the restrooms available on weekends for functions, but ceased as the facility was too often left in a very untidy state, garbage bins went missing, and fixtures were constantly damaged. The facility at Long Bay (Beef Island) is currently kept closed on days when ships are not in port and on weekends. Mr. Speaker the facility at Great Harbour remains open seven days a week.
- Mr. Speaker during the Standing Finance debate for this current budget, in an effort to improve the restroom services at our beaches, we were given an additional $35,000. Unfortunately, these funds have been quickly consumed by costs relating to the rental of the portable facilities at Josiah’s Bay, repairs to all facilities, which have been steadily on the increase, and utility bills which have escalated.
Mr. Speaker, the current system is clearly not sustainable and, inevitably, will become a burden on the public’s purse. Consequently, Mr. Speaker, this Ministry is currently exploring the option of imposing a fee for the use of the facilities or the possibility of even having the management of these facilities become an entrepreneurial opportunity and will, therefore, put forward the necessary recommendations.