Health Minister Dr. Kenneth Darroux has announced that the much talked about new hospital project is “on stream” and has “essentially started.”
“The new National Hospital Project, which is the official term that we use to coin this project, is on stream and contrary to naysayers the project has essentially started,” he stated.
The contract for new National Hospital was signed between the Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation of China and the Ministry of Health and Environment on December 11, 2015.
Darroux described the project as a “massive undertaking” and fine tuning had to be done which led to a lot of dialogue between the government and its Chinese counterparts.
“And of course, as I said, it’s even more so the fact that the hospital is going to be constructed on the site where we expect services to continue,” he stated.
Dr. Darroux thanked the Chinese for their patience and understanding with the government of Dominica.
“Of course they realizing that PMH is our sole secondary healthcare provider institution, so we have to ensure all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed before we proceed to signing off on any phasing option,” he stated. “I would like to report that these dialogues are over.”
Dr. Darroux also stated that temporary residential buildings located next to the Dominica Grammar School are being constructed to house Chinese contractors /workers employed on the project.
“Work has started on the project and you would notice the clearing of land next to the Dominica Grammar School…,” he noted. “These are lands that I know would have air marked for sporting facilities, but we have agreed, giving the importance of this national project, that we would have agreed to allow our Chinese counterparts to construct temporary residential buildings during the life of the new national hospital project.”
He indicated that the project is not expected to last more than three years.
Dr. Darroux noted that discussions will be held with cabinet to get an official ground breaking date.
The construction of the new hospital has been on the lips of officials for years now.
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.
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.
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.
In December 2015 it was revealed that two technical teams from the People’s Republic of China are presently in Dominica and one of them will be reviewing plans for the hospital.