It appears that all the I’s are now dotted and the T’s crossed with regards to the China-funded new Princess Margaret Hospital and groundbreaking for the facility will be held in the first quarter of 2016.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that “everything is settled” between the governments of Dominica and China on the construction of the institution.
“We should have the ground breaking ceremony of construction to commence in the first quarter of 2016, now that everything has been settled between both sides,” Skerrit said. “The Chinese government is now going through the procurement process of tendering and selecting a contractor to build the hospital for us. So notwithstanding the storm (TS Erika) and all the other existing commitments, the Chinese are giving us further assistance.”
He noted that Erika has not affected China’s commitment to Dominica.
“So the storm has not affected the commitment of the Chinese government to us on a number of projects which we have spoken about before, which is of great importance of the people of Dominica is the new hospital,” he stated.
Since the new hospital will be built on the site of the present PMH, the Chinese government has also agreed to finance temporary accomodation for the hospital.
“One of the challenges we faced, from a financial standpoint, was the issue of temporary accommodation for the hospital and the Chinese government has offered to us to finance the temporary accommodation for the hospital so those sections that will be demolished,” he said. “They will provide temporary housing facility and will meet the requirements while we construct the new hospital.”
He added that the financial assistance is significant.
“This is a significant amount of money that the government of Dominica would have to fetch on its own and we now do not have to do it because of the offer of the Government of China, gain this is a major plus,” Skerrit remarked.
The new PMH has been described as “a noble gift” to Dominica by the Chinese government.
During the campaign for general election last year, it was said construction on the facility would begin in the first quarter of 2015.
In January 2015, Health Minister Kenneth 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.
In May 2015, Skerrit said groundbreaking would be held in July 2015.
Back in 2010 then Health Minister, Julius Timothy, announced that the ground breaking 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.