Billion $ contract for new POS hospital block signed

The $1.1 bil­lion con­tract for con­struc­tion of the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal Cen­tral Block has been de­scribed as a first pri­or­i­ty for the peo­ple of T&T.

The con­tract, which will see Shang­hai Con­struc­tion Group and Chi­na Rail­way han­dle as­pects of the con­struc­tion, was of­fi­cial­ly signed yes­ter­day at the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre.

“When it is a health chal­lenge, it au­to­mat­i­cal­ly be­comes pri­or­i­ty num­ber one,” said Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley.

The Cen­tral Block, which is 60 years old, was deemed seis­mi­cal­ly un­safe in 2009.

The Prime Min­is­ter said that last year’s earth­quake, which saw por­tions of the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre’s roof cracked, served as a great alarm to him that the Cen­tral Block of the hos­pi­tal need­ed to be ad­dressed.

How­ev­er, the Prime Min­is­ter has ad­mit­ted that while one is­sue has been ad­dressed, it does bring along a new bur­den for this coun­try dur­ing a time where the eco­nom­ic cli­mate has not been at its strongest.

“What­ev­er we do this project has to be fund­ed. The arrange­ments of that in­vi­ta­tion by pub­lic ten­der gives us the breath­ing space to in­cur the debt that we are in­cur­ring to­day but it is a debt of the high­est pri­or­i­ty to build a hos­pi­tal for the peo­ple of T&T as a mat­ter of ur­gent pri­or­i­ty,” said the Prime Min­is­ter.

Row­ley said, how­ev­er, that the Gov­ern­ment has had to put plans in place to en­sure that the pay­ment for the con­struc­tion is man­aged ef­fec­tive­ly so to not sti­fle the econ­o­my.

“When we do this it will be recog­nised that it is one of the many prob­lems which would have been solved. The bur­den of dis­charg­ing our re­spon­si­bil­i­ty—lender to the builder—will con­tin­ue in the years ahead in a man­age­able way,” said Row­ley.

Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh al­so stressed the im­por­tance of the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal.

“That fa­cil­i­ty serves about 300,000 from Care­nage to Barataria and that does not in­clude the work­ing pop­u­la­tion that comes in­to the city to work so you could prob­a­bly add an­oth­er 200,000 peo­ple that come from the work­ing pop­u­la­tion.

“We need a mod­ern fa­cil­i­ty,” said Deyals­ingh.

- by Peter Christopher

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