After being on the lips of government officials for more than five years, the ground breaking ceremony for a new national hospital in Dominica will take place on Monday afternoon.
The ceremony for the US$40-million China-funded project is expected to take place at the Lindo Park in Goodwill from 4:00 pm. It forms part of the four-pillar projects agreed to in Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of Dominica and China when the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2004.
Press secretary, Kamala Baptiste Aaron said the ceremony will be a “tangible and symbolic event to make that leap forward in the advancement of health care in Dominica.”
She stated that the government has spent many months negotiating the project with China for the benefit of the people of Dominica.
“So Monday’s ground breaking ceremony really is a celebration, it is a celebration because it will mark the advancement of health care and the development of the health care system in Dominica,” she stated. “The people have been requesting, have been asking for, have been wanting that advancement for many many years…”
Among those to address the ceremony are Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, Minister of Health Dr. Kenneth Darroux, Chinese Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Dominica, Li Jiangning, and Xie Gaohong, Manager of Overseas Department Hunan Construction Engineering Group.
The new hospital is being built on the same site at the present Princess Margaret Hospital.
Talks of constructing a new hospital in Dominica goes back to 2010.
That year then Health Minister, Julius Timothy, announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital in the Roseau North constituency was “coming soon.”
That same year Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said Warner should be considered as a possible location for the hospital.
Two years later, in 2012 Timothy said the existing Princess Margaret Hospital would soon be revamped and the country will have a “relatively new hospital early next year” (2013).
In 2013, Prime Minister Skerrit said the new hospital was among projects to be undertaken that year through gratuitous aid and concessionary financing from the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
At that time, Skerrit mentioned that they were “unfolding the designs” of the hospital.
In January 2015, Darroux said new information, new points of view and ideas about the hospital had surfaced and a site for the facility was yet to be determined.
He said a decision on the new site would be determined very soon and “within the next few weeks” the nation would be informed.
It was subsequently revealed that the facility will be constructed in Goodwill, at the site of the PMH.
In May 2015, Skerrit said groundbreaking would be held in July 2015.
In November 2015, Skerrit said everything is now settled between Dominica and China and the groundbreaking will now be held in the first quarter of 2016.
Recently Darroux said the construction of the hospital had “essentially started.”