Grenada has signed an agreement with Venezuela to restart work on the St. George’s General hospital.
The agreement was signed by Minster of Health, Clarice Modeste-Curwen and Minister of Works, Gregory Bowen and a contractor from Venezuela, German Gonzalez.
Known as Phase Two of the General Hospital, the project was started during the 2003-08 period of a former New National Party (NNP) government but had to be halted due to major infrastructural difficulties especially with the steel beams on the building being constructed.
Minister Modeste-Curwen said that although some infrastructural work will be done at the General Hospital, this does not take away from government’s commitment to construct a new hospital for the island.
“The previous government has started work on the concept and we believe that it was a justified move …”, she added.
However, she said that the cost involved is phenomenal and running into millions of dollars and as such the Keith Mitchell-led NNP regime after coming into office following the February 2013 general elections, took a close look at the proposed project.
She added that since the plan was based on a loan agreement and the nation is concerned with Grenada’s already high public debt, “we felt that with the state of the economy it was not the best thing to go into at this time, so we are looking for alternative means of financing but we are still aggressively pursuing (the new hospital),” she said.
According to the female government minister, a new hospital is a must for Grenada and the facility will undoubtedly bring benefits to the island with its health tourism concept.
“…We are well aware that several countries have benefited greatly from that kind of initiative where you have experts coming in and you invite persons from other countries who may have the monies to come and have a sort of holiday health intervention…”, she said.
“…We know that Grenada is perhaps the better place in the world to do that with the environment the scenery and everything else it would bring its own healing powers to whatever interventions they are here for,” she explained.
The Health Minister made reference to the concerns she was getting from health care providers about the conditions that they are working under; it’s trying for them on a daily basis.
She said that the steel structure, now serving as an eyesore for many, will be torn down partly and that the building will now have four floors instead of the previously planned five.
The minister announced that the actual construction work will be done in two components – the building comprising the steel works and the eye ward and gynecology area.
“Some of the things that we’re going to be addressing is (one) the Eye Ward. The Eye Ward has been located in a place that for years is not the optimal place for them. We had a facility that worked in terms of the functions of that facility but structurally it needed some improvements.
“…We’re going to start with the Eye Ward structure which is separate so that once we fix the Eye Ward then our intention is to move to fix the Gynae floor because (the) Eye Ward is downstairs what used to be the Gynae Ward but now we had to relocate the persons from what used to be the Gynae Ward because the floor was cracking up some years ago and it could not be used.
The first phase of the project will cost US$250,000 and will be completed in four to five months while the second component will cost US $1.03M and should be ready within 18-24 months.