Senator, and Minister of State responsible for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, said that the work toward the completion of the Mary Charles Hospital is an exemplary example of public and private sector cooperation, at the re-opening of the medical facility in Molineux, August 31, 2016.
“What we see today is an ideal example of public-private sector partnership,” Minister of State Phipps said. “It is a model of what is possible in St. Kitts and Nevis in terms of national development because none of us can do it alone. We saw over the past nine months ample opportunity of how the public and private sector being single-minded, can produce something beautiful for the benefit for the people of this country.”
It was noted that the hospital had fallen into a state of disrepair and the roof over the female ward had fallen in, approximately one year ago, following some heavy rains.
Director of Public Works Cromwell Williams revealed that his department had been called in to begin the process of addressing the roof collapse. Even at this early stage, one member of the Private Sector became involved.
“I got a request from the then Permanent Secretary, Mr. Andrew Skerritt, for Public Works Department and the Ministry of Health to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the facility, with a view towards putting together a capital project for the refurbishment of the hospital,” Mr. Williams said. “By November last year, my records indicate that such an assessment was done. The record would also indicate that a third party was part of that assessment and I refer of course to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.”
Mr. Williams stated that it was determined that Public Works did not have the human resources needed to solely complete the job and a contractor from the area, Keith James, was given a labour contract of just over $324,000. The total construction cost was assessed to be $650,000. To date, $890,000 had been spent. A small section of Mary Charles that had previously housed a Dental Unit had remained open to serve as a health centre. This section would be renovated, now that the hospital had re-opened.
Minister of State Phipps reminded the audience at the opening that it was critical that residents have a personal stake in the new facility.
“We must also remind ourselves that having invested in regular maintenance of public buildings, that with all the technology and all that we spend on equipment and training we have to be sure that we maintain people at the centre of everything,” she said, noting that nothing happens without people. “I would be very disappointed if having opened this facility, we do not have our nursing and medical complement step up to the plate and give this refurbished institution, the type of top quality service that the people of this area deserve.”
At the Re-opening Ceremony Hazarie Ramoutar, Director of Student Experience at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine spoke on behalf of the private partners. As listed on the programme provided, the private contributors are Ross University School Veterinary Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Red Semester Class of May 2017, Whitegate Development, St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Windsor University School of Medicine, Inter Serv Ltd, Fraites and Sons Bakery, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Royal St. Kitts Hotel and KM Services. Woodsrite was also mentioned as a donor along with others who preferred to remain anonymous.
The event was streamed live on the SKNIS Facebook page.
Photo: MC Williams and MC Phipps