New St. Jude in 18 Months
ANOTHER 18 months are expected to elapse before St. Jude Hospital is completed and the makeshift hospital at the George Odlum Stadium is returned to its original site at Cantonment in Vieux Fort.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet Wednesday night, during a pre-recorded broadcast on television and various social media platforms.
He said that the site, which already houses several outbuildings needed for the overall completion of the hospital, will also host a new wing to be constructed by his government.
The completion of this new wing – by the end of 2019, if the 18 months completion date given is adhered to — may very well signal the end of nine years of heated political debates on the hospital that has engulfed the entire country.
But while the prime minister failed to provide a cost estimate for the new wing, he did say, however, that several sources of funding have been identified, one being half of a twenty-million dollar-loan the former government took from Taiwan to fund the hospital’s reconstruction.
Chastanet also admitted that the new wing will be constructed through a BOLT arrangement and hinted that the site had sufficient infrastructure to make the timeframe given for the hospital’s completion possible.
The infrastructure the PM referred to are core facilities already constructed on the site, such as the water tank, sewerage system, dialysis lab, administrative block and the morgue.
But the opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), which has railed against government’s stoppage of work on the hospital for the past two years, is not excited about the prime minister’s pronouncements on St. Jude Hospital.
The party in less than 24 hours after the prime minister’s pronouncements – issued its own “preliminary response”, in which it severly castigated the government’s positions as outlined in the pre-recorded panel discussion broadcast on Wednesday night on TV and hosted by Acting Prime Minister Guy Joseph. (More Health Care Coverage on Pages 4, 14 and 15)