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Harmon defends remodeling of MOTP; says security must be consistent with that of a high office

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By Stacy Carmichael-James

Minister of State Joseph Harmon today defended the Government’s decision to remodel the Ministry of Presidency, with particular emphasis on the high concrete fence, on the basis that greater security measures must be taken to adequately ensure the security of the President and those persons on the premises.

” We have to put in place security arrangements that would prevent us having to use maximum force as was done with the previous administration, ” Harmon said.

The State Minister told reporters that the Government has to ensure that proper facilities are in place to avoid incidents similar to what had occurred under the previous administration, where a number of persons had stormed the then Office of the President, resulting in some persons being shot by the security personnel.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon during Thursday’s Post cabinet press conference

Minister Harmon was responding specifically to concerns raised by the Opposition Leader regarding the remodeling of the Ministry of the Presidency, where he likened the high concrete fence being constructed to the “Great Wall of China.” According to Harmon, the Leader of the Opposition is relishing in the idea that he is now getting more media coverage as compared to when he held the office of President.

He maintained that it is the duty of the Government to ensure that the facilities can guarantee the physical security of the persons who enter and leave the premises.

” This is the office of His Excellency the President and therefore we have to ensure that all of the security arrangements that are put in place are consistent with that high office and the fact that it is located here,” noted Harmon.

Further, Minister Harmon said the general modifications of the building are progressing “fairly well” and that the contractor is on schedule with the expected works.

However, there was an issue with the respect to the beams in the cabinet room, resulting in some modifications.

The Opposition had raised concerns not only of the high fence that is currently being constructed but with the fact that the building now called the Ministry of the Presidency is being painted in the APNU party colour, green.

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