The new Marigot Hospital which “naysayers” doubted would ever be built, is progressing at a quick pace – the words of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in his latest pronouncement on that health facility which was shut down in 2016 due to mould and fungus infestation.
After a long, delay-plagued process, construction of the hospital began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in April 2021.
“I am pleased Mr. Speaker, to report to this Honourable House, that the new Marigot Hospital which naysayers doubted would ever be built, is progressing at a quick pace,” the prime minister stated during his 2020-2021 National Budget Address earlier this week.
Skerrit said the new Marigot Hospital will occupy 55,800 square feet and will be fully equipped with an operating theatre, ICU, in-patient wards, A&E, lab services, dialysis unit and x-ray services among other services. Provision has also been made for staff quarters and parking.
“Another significant feature of the expansion of our health care facilities, system and services, beyond ensuring a more healthy and productive population capable of fully enjoying life, Mr. Speaker, is the number of good-paying jobs that will be created,” the prime minister stated.
“It is in this context of new opportunities in the health sector, that the importance of training and upskilling young Dominicans become more apparent, both for their upward social mobility and as a national development strategy,” he went on to say.
According to the prime minister, one of the most significant outcomes of the changes and benefits that Dominicans will enjoy in healthcare is that Dominica will emerge as one of the leaders in health care services and delivery in the Caribbean.
Meantime, Skerrit’s reference to “naysayers” and doubters in his statement, did not go escape the attention of Opposition Leader Lennox Linton who addressed it in his response to the budget the following day.
“Mr. Speaker it was reported in this honourable house that naysayers doubted the new Marigot Hospital…after all the pleading and begging and beseeching for over 6 years inside and outside of this Parliament for the hospital to be built, after suffering so many preventable deaths in the north-east health district on account of the closure of the Marigot Hospital for termite infestation more than 6 years ago, this is the most scabby politics that the Prime Minister can play to cover up neglect, incompetence and spitefulness with the people of Marigot,” Linton said.
He pointed out that the 2019-2020 financial year which ended on 30th June shows no spending on the hospital even though $8 million-dollars were spent before the end of the close of the financial year.
“What this means, at least to me, at least to us in the parliamentary opposition, is that the money to build a hospital did not go into and is not coming out from Dominica’s Consolidated Fund as the constitutional rule of law requires,” Linton remarked. “But we are satisfied that the money is Dominica’s money.
“One of our private interests is spending it to build the Marigot Hospital,” Linton noted. He said nonetheless, that they are happy that construction of the hospital facility is finally progressing at a quick pace and will be completed in April 2021.