Categorized | Featured, National News

BAMSI 70 Per Cent Complete

The Bahamas Agricultural Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) will welcome 50 students to kick off its first semester on September 29, however the construction process will not meet the opening date as the construction process is only between 65 to 70 per cent complete , according to the project’s chief architect.

Chief Architect in the Ministry of Public Works Livingston Forbes explained that contractors encountered a number of challenges that delayed the process but gave an update on the progress of construction moving forward.

“The lecture hall would not be ready before early next year, we had some problems in terms of the topography and other issues that caused us to go back to the drawing board and redesign the building but we are now on track,” he said.

“The contractors are doing two phases of construction each day so by January or February of next year, hopefully that building will be complete it will house about 150 people in seating, it will be the state of the art lecture theatre.”

During a tour of BAMSI on Monday, Agriculture Minister Alfred Gray explained that this delay will not damper the quality of education the students are due to receive.

“The work is in progress and as I indicated earlier the school will open September 29 with a bang, we have all the teachers ready to go, we have all the students ready to go and we have the facilities ready to go, even though they are alternative facilities which we had to rent until perhaps the end of the first semester when they should move into the facilities for the school,” the minister said.

“But I think it’s important to note that there will be no reduction in the standard of the education that the students will receive because buildings are not of themselves, so the program which we envision will be the same program that the student will be exposed too even if we were in the building that we envision to be their home.”

In regards to living accommodations for students, those are expected to be completed within the next two months.

The campus will also feature a cafeteria, administration building, faculty housing and processing facility as well.

Although there has been a delay in the physical construction of BAMSI, its commercial farm is now booming with growth and plant production.

Some 800 acres are being cultivated for the production of bananas and papayas which are bearing fruit at the moment and are expected to be harvested in November.

Officials expect to produce 870,000 bananas and 1.2 million papayas by 2015.

Additional fruits that are expected to be cultivated on the farm include limes, plantains and guavas.

The farm also boasts of some 31 goats and sheep, a breeding program is expected to commence soon.

Overall, Mr. Gray said that despite the criticisms over the past few weeks he is pleased with the progress made so far with BAMSI.

“I’m very impressed because trees don’t grow overnight and you can see that a lot of work and a lot of money have gone into the development of the farm and we’re not finished yet, it’s just the beginning,” he said.

“I just brought the press with me today to show them and to put a lie to what the leader of the opposition is saying because you have to tell the whole story, we can always find something to criticize but when you going to be honest an give the public the truth, you got to show the truth.”

The government has allocated millions dollars towards the institute as it seeks to slash the country’s food imports and revolutionize the agricultural industry in the country.

While on the island Mr. Gray also addressed the concerns from residents who complained about the countless number of potholes that plague their roads.

However Mr. Gray assured that contracts to repair the roads in North Andros are expected to be signed this week.

“I am happy to say that the prime minister has announced that once the deputy prime minister returns and I think he is back from his 10 day trip – he is going to sign contracts and I’ll be surprised if the contracts are not signed this week,” he said.

“So perhaps before the end of the week the contracts for the rehabilitation of the roads leading from the airport to the school and in fact all of the roads in North Andros so this is a big project, I’m told it will engage some five or six contractors.”

Mr. Gray added that those road repairs will take up to six weeks.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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