St. Jude’s Hospital renovation project compared to political football, Belrose

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The two main political factions in Saint Lucia continue to make “big time” on an infrastructure issue of national importance – the renovation work on the site of St Jude’s Hospital.

And 13 years after a fire destroyed the southern medical facility, the tense situation unfolding at the construction site has not dissipated, while members of the public and other concerned citizens hope the millions dollars spent to complete these long-standing renovations will suffice. not so “go up in smoke”.

In March this year, Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre said authorities wanted to resume renovation work on the original hospital building, after an independent panel reported “surprising revelations” about the status of work and financial management of the structure. to place.

This week, Pierre revealed that construction work on the St Jude’s Hospital site will resume in November.

Reports say the abandonment of work on the original construction site of St Jude’s Hospital, which was estimated to be around 80% complete, cost the government over $115 million in ‘expendable’ public funds.

Furthermore, official sources revealed that “a technical audit undertaken in 2016/17 determined that the original site of St. Jude’s Hospital was nearly 80% complete. At the time, around EC$26 million was needed to bring the East [Medical] Wing in the state of completion.

It was also reported that operations at the George Odlum National Stadium could have been transferred to the East Wing within 12 months.

According to the government statement, this meant that “people who depend on St. Jude’s Hospital for medical care and the hardworking medical staff who provide these essential services could have done so today in more suitable facilities”.

Accordingly, the Pierre administration took “decisive action to provide immediate relief to the patients and staff of St. Jude’s Hospital operating from the stadium and announced that exterior work at the original construction site will resume in November.

In highlighting the process of renovation works at the hospital site, the administration of the Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP) listed the following issues as “Promise(s) Kept” to the electorate, as following :

A technical architectural proposal commissioned by the administration led by Chastanet concluded that as of 2016 the original buildings were 80% complete.

Exterior work is expected to begin in November 2022.

Repair work at the original construction site is expected to begin in 2023

$1.5 million allocated for repairs to the hospital currently housed at the George Odlum National Stadium.

As citizens in the south and the country in general await this long-awaited progress report on the work to rebuild the grounds of St Jude’s Hospital, Prime Minister Pierre assured that the “committee report” will be made public, as soon as the group submits the document.

UWP Vice President, Fortuna Belrose

Meanwhile, the main opposition – the United Workers Party (UWP) called a press briefing on Thursday in which UWP Vice President Fortuna Belrose took the government to task over the authorities’ preferred method of dealing with construction issues on the job site.

Belrose said the UWP expresses “its disappointment and disgust” at what is happening at the construction site of St Jude’s Hospital, where the current administration has decided to cancel the plan conceptualized by the former plan which provided for the construction of a new building in 2019.

On the contrary, the government has declared that this latest project entails “exorbitant costs” for the coffers of the country and that if it continues, this “so-called” new project will be detrimental to taxpayers and citizens in general.

However, the UWP is not hesitating and has launched an all-out attack on the government’s financial management and operating policy to continue construction work at the site.

“St Jude’s (Hospital) has been reduced to (political) football, which has been beaten by everyone…and so, for us as a country and as a political party, we continue to be disappointed by Prime Minister’s leadership,” Belrose told reporters.

The former UWP senator described the situation as ‘glaring…and more like a personal vendetta’ rather than looking after the interests of the people and ‘an institution that has served us so well in health care’ .

Belrose said: “There is no way that in 2022 we will build a facility…in a facility that is over 60 to 70 years old. It’s not correct.”

The UWP official argues that in juxtaposition with the ongoing works undertaken by the authorities and contrary to the project which had been defined by the old regime “the state-of-the-art facility which is there to be improved and supplemented or finished …it’s like ‘chalk and cheese’.

She added: “If you look (towards) the future, it is clear that … the Labor Party is making a big mistake.

Belrose noted that in the interest of the staff and patients of the medical establishment, a line must be drawn regarding the extent or magnitude of the work being done. She maintains that the project undertaken by the old regime was destined to continue, while the government continues to play “political football” with this very delicate national question.

“Eventually they will find themselves using this facility … and they will not maximize the benefits of what they could have gained from it,” she said, on the government’s preferred option with construction work on the site. “It’s a sad place, it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money over the years, and I think every citizen should be disgusted by that…and that’s a debate that’s going to go on for a very long time. long time.”

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