Costa Rican legislators given 24 hours to evacuate building

June 11, 2010

 

The Health Ministry is evicting the Legislative Assembly after the government failed to make structural improvements to Assembly buildings.
 
Under an order delivered to legislators at noontime on Tuesday, nearly 400 people must leave 40 offices within the facility within 24 hours.
 
“At this moment, they aren’t operating in safe or healthy buildings,” said Health Vice Minister Ana Morice, citing problems with the facility’s electrical system and physical infrastructure. “The legislative assembly has been informed of the areas they must leave in order to renovate the buildings and make the necessary changes.”
 
In 2005, the Health Ministry issued a warning to the Legislative Assembly, giving it five years to improve the safety of the facility and undertake other renovations such as making the building accessible to the disabled. But former legislative assemblies failed to take remedial steps.
 
Jason Fernández, spokesperson for the assembly president, Luis Gerardo Villanueva, said congressional leaders are meeting with Health Minister María Luisa Avila to discuss alternatives.
 
“If these buildings are declared inhabitable, the assembly can’t function,” Fernández said. “Where will legislators go? Where will the president of the assembly have his offices? At this moment, it’s impossible to evacuate the building in 24 hours.”
 
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