The sod was turned yesterday for construction of the $344.4 million official corporate headquarters of the NIBTT.
The new building will be located at #17 Queen’s Park East, Port of Spain, near Cadiz Road.
NIBTT chairman Adrian Bharath said it is expected to be completed within 20 months.
Bharath said Bouygues Batiment Trinidad and Tobago Ltd, the local subsidiary of French construction company Bouygues Batiment, was contracted to design and build the facility.
“This is not just an aesthetic property, it is not just for comfort but there is an investment return that is attached to this property. It’s a mixed-use development with A-class offices. We expect that it will have retail facilities, parking and support services,” he noted.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Rudy Indarsingh, who delivered the feature address, called on NIB employees at branches around the country to use the sod-turning event as a “resurgence of the work attitude and the discipline that is currently needed”.
He recalled one complaint he received just hours before the ceremony.
“A lady by the name of Miss Sookhoo this morning called me. She is a single parent whose son died just a couple months ago from Longdenville, at the age of 21. Her son used to help her keep the home going from a financial point of view. I did not know her but I was on the radio this morning and I gave out my cell number. She called me and broke down in tears and said her son had died and she no longer had anything but the National Insurance to rely on, but when she goes to the Chaguanas office she is forced to wait for three hours and that over the last two weeks the Chaguanas office has been closed.”
Indarsingh said he was informed that a rat was found in a box at that branch and that the problem took two weeks to be resolved.
He said he was also told the Couva branch of NIB has been shut down on several occasions while bomb threats have been occurring at the Tunapuna branch from 10 a.m. daily.
“I want the employees to work from the point of view that one day they will be recipients of this fund. And I am saying to you, lead the charge and let my friend Watson Duke (Public Services Association president) assist you. Let your manager of legal affairs assist you to come up with the necessary empowerment for the managers of these service centres and for the employees at these service centres to be proactive in dealing with the health and safety issues, so that the people who go to these centres will not have to be waiting for two and three and four hours and then be calling ministers of Government in relation to the pain and suffering and trauma that they are experiencing,” Indarsingh said.