Minster of Health and Environment, Kenneth Darroux has revealed that an advanced Chinese construction team will visit Dominica next month to begin preparation for construction of the new Princess Margaret Hospital.
He made the announcement on Focus on Government and Development radio show on Thursday night.
“We are expecting an advanced construction team to arrive on the island somewhere around the 25th or 26th of February, tentatively, to begin preparations for construction,” he said.
He stated that before construction can begin, a number of preliminary measures will have to be taken.
“Of course, prior to actual construction, I’m talking about demolition of some of the building and actual construction, a number of preliminary activities will have to take place… the issue of temporary buildings, because the Cabinet and the Government would have taken a decision to build on the existing site,” he noted.
Darroux commented that although he is sure that the project will present some challenges, after meeting with healthcare personnel, who are willing to contribute to the effort, he is “confident” construction and future operations will run smoothly.
“And I’m not going to be naïve or to say that this in itself isn’t going to pose some challenges but after meeting with the Ministry of Health (MOH) staff, and the doctors, the healthcare providers, and the administrative staff,” Darroux said. “I left the seminar very confident, and with the assurance from all and sundry that they were going to put their all into it, to ensure that this new national hospital project is done as seamlessly as possible.”
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.