Specialty Hospital project is “dead”

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017, 12:40 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana has scrapped the India-funded Specialty Hospital project and will repay the amount of money that has been already spent on works at the Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara location, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced Thursday.

“This issue is dead, dead,” he told a news briefing when asked about the status of that health institution.  Jordan explained that at the request of Guyana, India agreed to recall the US$18 million line of credit from the EXIMBank.

He said Guyana and India weeks ago signed an agreement to deal with the closure of that controversial project that had been inherited from the then People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration. “We signed right here with the press the amended agreement so that we will only pay back what was disbursed by the India and the rest has been written off,” he said.

Jordan said since that signing, agreement has been reached with India to modernize the Suddie Regional Hospital, the West Demerara Regional Hospital and the Bartica District Hospital at a cost of US$17.5 million.

The construction of the Specialty Hospital had been mired in controversy especially after the previous government had scrapped the contract with the Indian company, Surendra Engineering, and moved to the court over failed targets to advance the works.

When the David Granger-led government took office, moves had been made by another Indian company, Fedders- Lloyd, to take over the project. However, that company has since been blacklisted from India-funded projects following a similar penalty by the World Bank for alleged procurement violations.

The then PPPC-led administration had touted the Specialty Hospital as one that would have attracted patients from Europe, North America and elsewhere for advanced surgeries and other medical procedures at costs comparatively much lower than in their home countries.