The groundbreaking for the much talked about new Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) will take place later this year or next year, Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux has said.
He said at a press conference on Thursday that despite the passage of Tropical Storm Erika plans for the hospital are moving along.
“We are going to go ahead with the new Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in spite of the passage of Tropical Storm Erika,” Dr. Darroux stated.
He said many would question whether the new facility will be even considered since resources have been redirected since the storm.
“We think that the new hospital is important enough to go ahead with it,” he noted.
Darroux said he is willing to shoulder the blame for any delay in the construction of the facility.
He explained that when he took over as Minister for Health, he felt that certain modifications to the design were imperative particularly in this age.
“I think we would all agree that this is what is going to serve us for the next two to three decades so in order to ensure that we get it right, and to get the best option, the best design, and the best services available,” he noted. “So these have really been the cause of the delay.”
The new facility which according to officials will remain at the same location in Goodwill, is a gift from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“Our Chinese counterparts have been, I could even say restless, to get started but as the Minister of Health and a trained doctor, I felt that there were certain things that we needed to do to ensure that the best option and the best product was given to us as a country,” Darroux stated.
He said the PRC has given government the assurance that now the designs have been settled, ground breaking will be later this year or next year.
At the presentation of the last national budget in July the Ministry of Health received a $19.5-million slice, which goes towards the new PMH.
In May of this year, the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced that groundbreaking for the new hospital would take place in July.
During the campaign for general election last year, it was said construction would begin in the first quarter of 2015. A slick video of the facility was presented.
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, at the site of the old PMH.
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, 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.