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Rent of Women’s Department building fiasco

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche indulged the media today and clarified reports of financial discrepancies within her ministry.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche indulged the media today and clarified reports of financial discrepancies within her ministry. At the last Sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Human Development, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, and his daughter were at the center of a debate where the Leader of the Opposition John Briceno tabled documents showing the father and daughter receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in rental fees from the ministry.  Briceno presented fifty-four pages of financial transactions and stated that the duo was allegedly paid over one million dollars by the Government. Today CEO Alpuche, gave her side of the story with a detailed timeline, while refuting Briceno’s statements in the House.

Judith Alpuche, CEO, Ministry of Human Development: “Each ministry has its own code and the code for the Ministry of Human Development is HUWOC so you can go back and see that none of those payments were made. There was a property that was rented as a temporary office for the Women’s Department and I want to clarify how that came about. If you all are familiar with the old Albert Street property that was the old Cottage Industry office that building was literally condemned. Public Health went in and said you know what you need to bulldoze this building and start again. There were a couple of things going on in terms of the amount of mold and just repairs to the building and despite the valiant efforts of the last Women’s Department director it just could not be fixed and so the mold infestation etc was making people literally sick. Coupled with that was actually the new director couldn’t even go to her office and take up office there because of her health issues it was making her sick and we had been looking around for somewhere to move and also to find a permanent solution, basically to find how to build a new building and the thing really came to a head or the issues really became critical when we had a project come on board and the funding meant that we could bring on between ten and twelve more officers to run this project and there was literally nowhere to put them. We could not find anywhere that was big enough, that was centrally located for our clients, that was reasonable also in terms of the cost and that building was identified. The Ministry of Human Development, no ministry enters into contracts for rental of office space and so the Ministry of the Public Service that has that oversight went in did the due diligence, decided that it was within their parameters and it was rented as a temporary space and I think the rent was around when I looked at the contact it was around $4,800 or thereabouts a month. Two floors that housed over twenty five staff and a big conference room that was used by the entire ministry. We were able to secure funds with the help of the Ministry of Tourism and I must thank CEO Dujon for that through the ICDF downtown rejuvenation project and we literally built a new building and as soon as that building was ready we moved.”

Minister Martinez had also gone on record to deny the allegations of corruption against him.