$100M allocated for rebuilding Health Ministry building destroyed in 2009 arson

Last Updated on Thursday, 8 December 2016, 22:10 by Denis Chabrol

Government has earmarked $100M to have the Public Health Ministry building at Brickdam rebuilt, which was gutted by fire set by an arsonist in 2009.

“It is a known fact that the head office of the Ministry of Public Health was burnt to the ground nearly 8 years ago since July 2009 during the past regime,” Public Health Minister Dr George Norton told the National Assembly, “The PPP/C seemed quite contented in letting it remain that way.”

The reconstruction is expected to happen within three phases, Dr Norton noted in his budget presentation. Earlier this year, Keith Ferrier, who was accused of setting fire to the Ministry of Health (MoH) building in 2009, was cleared of the charge after a city court found that the prosecution had no case against him.

$110M has also been set aside, Dr Norton continued, for the construction of a laboratory and administrative building for the Food & Drug Department with a further $20.7M set aside for laboratory supplies.

The Public Health Minister anticipates there will be construction of a physical disability training centre at the Cyril Potter College of Education for 2017.

Turning his attention to the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr Norton told the House, “the GPHC had over 600 beds in its in-patient facility and now this has been reduced to 450.”

“This is so,” he continued, “because in the original plan of the past government to build that new inpatient facility, a total of 318 beds were to have been provided for the medical & surgical patients.”

Dr Norton said the new facility should have been made up of the north and south wings with a total of 214 beds and a west wing with 104 beds but because of the inefficiency of the past regime, and all the different problems that arose because of this, the funding was unable to provide for the construction of the west wing.

He then presented a detailed construction plan for which Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira rose to her feet asking for the Public Health Minister to share the document with the House.

Teixeira was, however, blocked by Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, who explained that the parliamentarian could not rise during a presentation without indicating the grounds of such mentioned in Parliament’s standing orders.

Dr Norton called out the political opposition saying, “some of the PPP small c members, including its leader, have been behaving as if they have been canonized. Their criticism of the budget and their angel like behavior are deceitful and hypocritical to say the least.”