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With $95 Million Already Spent – $50m More To Finish St. Jude

Minister for Economic Development, Guy Joseph. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
Minister for Economic Development, Guy Joseph. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
MINISTER for Economic Development, Guy Joseph, says the technical audit now underway for the new St. Jude Hospital is costing taxpayers nearly $800,000 and should be completed by this month-end.

Joseph refused to disclose the names of the people conducting the audit at the St. Jude Hospital, saying only that it will be done by “a team of persons”.

That sum, he said, is not included in the estimated $95 million reportedly spent to date on the incomplete hospital which would replace the former structure that was gutted by fire in September, 2009.

Joseph said more than $50 million more will be needed to finish the hospital for which construction began over five years ago, adding that as much as $12 million has been paid in consultancy fees for the project.

He said the project is laced with considerable secrecy and instances of mismanagement, adding that the previous SLP government is to be blamed for prolonging the project and paying too much for getting little work or progress done.

“Back in 2011, (the government) asked the suppliers of equipment to expedite the shipping of equipment for the hospital. We’re now in 2016 and the hospital is nowhere closer to being finished,” Joseph said when he appeared on TALK with Rick Wayne on Thursday evening.

Joseph said a tour of St. Jude hospital was among his first duties since becoming a government minister in June. He said he was appalled at the state of the project during that visit and expressed his concerns to the project’s contractor and related personnel.

“In my interview that day, I said if I had the authority and these people (in charge) were working for me, I would have fired everybody working on site forthwith,” Joseph said. “But I understand that as a minister, what I can do is limited.”

The minister said he has since been able to terminate the services of the two leading entities who were involved with that project. However, locating key documentation on the project has been futile.

“In one instance, when we wrote to one of the companies involved, we had to copy the letter to the police because we had to threaten to get the police involved (in order) to retrieve what belongs to the government of Saint Lucia,” Joseph said.

Joseph said the St. Jude Hospital project is now in a “standstill” phase following his decision to end construction works there momentarily to undertake the technical audit. That audit, he said, “is going to inform us about everything as to where we are, what needs to be done, and how it should be done.”

“Because there are no plans, we have to go and do as-build drawings now and then complete the plans. But when we are finished with this, we have to find out how much money was paid to the people working on the hospital for the plans. Every cent that was paid to them must be paid back to the government for not delivering on what they were paid to do,” Joseph explained.

Joseph said he met with a biomedical engineer this week who told him that equipment ordered for the hospital have not yet been manufactured since they can only be manufactured at least three months before the completion of the hospital and takes about four months to set up in the hospital.

He added that two containers of equipment that arrived in Saint Lucia for St. Jude Hospital nearly four years ago were stored improperly by being left in the heat, resulting in them being spoiled.

“The warranty period ran out on this equipment, so they are no longer usable,” Joseph stated. “That equipment is needed at both Victoria Hospital and St. Jude Hospital (the latter currently housed at the George Odlum National Stadium).”

Joseph said no dates have yet been determined for the opening of both the new St. Jude Hospital and Owen King-EU Hospital. However, he said the technical audit’s report should give government a better understanding towards establishing a completion date for St. Jude Hospital.

When asked by The VOICE yesterday to comment on the allegations made by Joseph, Leader of the Opposition, Phillip J. Pierre, said Joseph’s allegations are preemptive of the audit itself. He believes Joseph should await the results of the audit and let Saint Lucians make their judgment.

“What he’s doing is just trying to muddy the waters for him to make something that is obviously technical, political,” Pierre told The VOICE.

Pierre said his office will issue a formal release on the matter on Monday.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

7 Comments

  1. NO TALKS NO TALKS NO ONLY BLOSSOMING LAMENTING TAKLS

    MY BATTLE CRY
    “I AM LAMENTING IN SACK CLOTH AND ASH”
    PLE TA PLE TWIS
    TAN TOE TAN TOE

  2. Buildings erected without plans? That would mean buildings without DCA approval. The Minister would be well advised before spending money for as-built drawings to call on the contractor and consultants as well as the project officer in the relevant Ministry to produce the drawings or face prosecution in the courts. I’m not convinced these drawings don’t exist. I hope the findings from the audit are made public.

  3. Was this in the manifesto?
    So you re spending all that money to do an audit this money could be used to buy furniture for the schools. St. Lucia some schools have no furniture and this man is wasting like that. Who is doing that audit Guy. Guy Joseph you are a mad man

    1. So it’s ok to boast $95 million with no trace? It’s ok to have critical equipment rotting in containers? It’s ok to have no completion date and no budget for completion?

  4. How much of that will be spent on auditing and how much will the magician “sir yug” will make disappear into thin air. A ratty smell covers the land. Those with nostrils will smell.

  5. Saint Lucia is a friggin mess. No focus. No transparency. No accountability. No idea about the value of money. St. Jude worked well before the fire. It raised more revenue than Victoria. You would think the plan was to rebuild those buildings destroyed by the fire. But no. That was too simple. Somebody with an eye to legacy rather than efficiency had the bright idea to rebuild the entire complex. Now St. Jude will end up costing just as much, if not more than the Owen King Hospital. Now another$800k is being spent not on completing the complex but on finding out why the complex has not been completed after all that money has been spent. What a sad state of affairs!

  6. that same hospital was 2 b open in September 2010 by the King government

    just before the election there was posters ( bill boards as big as his head and belly all over vieux fort )
    Guy joseph have invented a way 2 get his hands on some money.
    MY BATTLE CRY
    “I AM LAMENTING IN SACK CLOTH AND ASH
    PLE TA PLE TWIS
    TA TOE TA TOE
    NO TALKS NO TALKS
    TILL NO TALKS BLOSSOM INTO LAMENTING TALKS !

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