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Architect wants more disclosure on St. Jude Hospital

By Kingsley Emmanuel
Image of St. Jude Hospital.

A local architect has called for more disclosure on the St. Jude Reconstruction Project, describing its management under the current administration as a national shame.

Mark Hennecart, director of Interisland Architects and Planners Limited, made the remarks at a recently held town hall meeting in Vieux Fort, organized by the National Pride Movement in collaboration with the Vieux Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VFCCCC).

Dwelling on the cost and design of the project, which has become a contentious issue, he said: “In a project like St. Jude, had it been a brand new project it could of cost far less from a professional fee standpoint…”

He added that this is because if you are going to rehabilitate St. Jude, you need to get a team of persons to go inside the building and measure what’s in place, assess the damage and determine what can be salvaged.

According to Hennecart, who has worked on a number of mega projects, both locally and regionally, a predesigned survey has to be done on the hospital to ascertain exactly what can be used, as opposed to if you had a “clean slate” – a brand new site, adding that the pre design comes at a cost.

“In a project like St. Jude, it can easily cost you between 15-18% of the cost of construction to deliver all the services required by professionals to get you a set of design drawings, supervise the construction, commissioning and handing over a project of that size, “Hennecart explained.

He expressed some concern as it relates to the dispensing of funds on the project.

“A lot of information was thrown out there, but no one told us how those large sums of monies were allocated…” Hennecart said.

“Depending on what type of contract you may employ for a project of that nature, it is easy to understand that for the main contractor to keep his project on track without delays, he will want to be the one responsible for the disbursement of finance to any sub contractor….” he said.

“So it is not unusual for him to receive payments for and on behalf of a subcontractor.., “Hennecart added.

According to him, when one hears of a contractor receiving an undisclosed amount, whether it was going to a subcontractor in all, or in part, it leaves one to ask questions.

He said equipping a hospital like St. Jude, which requires specialized equipment takes time and may require some sort of contractual arrangement with the seller.

“Once it is built, it can take years to have all the equipment into it, only because it is not available, and the equipment are so sensitive that the person who is selling it to you wants a contract to supply, install, commission and maintain for sometime…for as many as 5-10 years, “ Hennecart said.

“Once you can’t come up with that you’re not going to get it,” he added.

Hennecart has made an appeal to the Government to start commissioning part of the George Odlum Stadium and part of the St. Jude Hospital to allow the transfer to start.


  1. Sorry Mr. Henncarte. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have your full remarks, but the excerpts attributed to you in this piece make little sense.

    It’s beyond me why all the blame for the St. Jude fiasco is being placed at the feet of one Administration when all the evidence shows contributory negligence by both administrations.

    What has happened at St. Jude is financial recklessness of the highest order. We committed to build a structure knowing full well we could not have afforded it. Political ambition trumped financial reality. As as if that wasn’t bad enough, we used the wrong contractors, the wrong contract modality, the wrong consultants and the wrong project management mechanism. With so much that was wrong about this project from the very start, it’s unreasonable to expect we would get this project right.

  2. Sorry Castrain come to reality sir! Remember the Labour SLP gorvernment did not appoint the “wrong contractor, the wrong contract modality, the wrong consultants
    and the wrong project management meccanism”. All was done by the UWP. Remember sir, that the SLP found no money in the kitty to continue the works.But,
    the UWP found enough money to finish the hospital and, what have they done?
    Please tell me Castrain. And don’t tell me that they are looking to put the hospital
    at Skyway Inn a hotel, while Mary and the rest of the UWP talking about. demolition? because the building is not suitable for a hospital? which was designed for such.

    1. Sorry Mike. Your recall of the events do no fit with the facts. Even if we accept that the original arrangements were put in place by the UWP, the SLP had an oppprtunity to change these arrangements but continued with them. These arrangements turned out to be highly unsatisfactory.

      As for your claim that there was money in the kitty when the UWP took over, again this does not conform with the facts. Even then PM and Minister of Finance Kenny Anthony admits that there was never enough money to complete the project; but even though the money was not there, the scope of the project continued to expand.

      It is based on these established facts that I maintain succesive administrations made a complete hash of this project from start to incompletion.

      I do not support the demolition of what’s now there. That would be sheer madness. Using what’s now there would be infinitely better than staying at the Odlum Stadium. If the stadium can be made fit-for-purpose, albeit temporary, then surely the set -up at St. Jude can be used.

      We’ve built health centers and a polyclinic at Gros-Islet. A hotel was converted into a hospital at Tapion. It’s beyond me what is so complicated about St. Jude that we could have bungled it so badly.

  3. CASTRIES wrote his piece with some facts which I may agree with but
    without hesitation, true to form, MIKE replied with great political overtones
    and as an observer, I’m very disappointed because I hate to see this whole
    thing turning into a political Party football.From where I’m at, thousands of miles
    away, I can say it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. It’s crass stupidity
    on both sides.Even at this late stage some with Axes to grind are blaming each
    other for the mistakes. Who the hell brought in the Trini’s into this business?
    it must be realized that a Hospital is not just another building, for the Millions
    spent and what we have for it is a lump of concrete and politicians are buy blaming
    each other, instead of getting together in a way to solve this man made problem.
    Stop the political blame – turn the place into an old folks Home + Health Centre.

  4. Try as we want to divest the St Jude Hospital from politics, we will never succeed. The main point in all of this is that the St Lucia Labour Party had a full term of five year term (2011 to 2016) to complete this project and didn’t. Even if there were mistakes made and there were changes in the plans, five years is more than adequate to complete any project of that size.l

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