ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda Ex-servicemen’s Association has been forced to abandon plans to prepare the former Officers’ Barracks at Victoria Park, formerly Botanical Gardens, for relocation there.
The building, which was recently approved by government to house the association’s headquarters, was also earmarked for the Environment Division, which reportedly has plans to overhaul the entire area.
The information came to light while the association was in the process of engaging the services of an engineer to assess the condition of the property.
Secretary of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association Keith Eastmond said the group was notified of this during a meeting last Friday.
“It is obvious that the Environment Division would have priority over everybody else and they are looking to house their forestry office,” he said. “They do not have any office space for them at the moment. They are also looking at development for the entire Botanical Gardens.”
According to members of the association, they were alerted to the situation after they unveiled plans to conduct a quarter-million dollar upgrade of the building.
President of the association Paggett Massiah said the organisation chose the old barracks because of its sentimental value to war veterans.
“For most of us, it was like boot camp. It was where we became soldiers … but in the circumstances we understand and we are prepared to yield,” Massiah said.
The association will be penning a letter to three government departments seeking approval for yet another place from which manage its affairs.
It is currently operating from the Red Cross building on Old Parham Road.