Former Saint Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King has described the current situation with St Jude Hospital one decade after a devastating fire at the facility as ‘unpardonable’.
King, who was Prime Minister at the time of the fire told St Lucia Times it is a painful feeling at this time.
“To know that despite all the pain ans suffering of workers, the families who lost loved ones and the experience of the night of the fire – I personally and physically was present on that night and the decisions that were made to relocate the operations of the hospital to the comprehensive school and then to the stadium. I believe that ten years later the fact that we have failed to deliver to the people of Saint Lucia a proper facility to replace the burnt-out facility or to redevelop the existing facility is unpardonable,” the Castries North MP declared.
“We need to do what is necessary to get the facility going,” King, who is Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, asserted.
He said he was aware that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has made a number of comments and given commitments to redevelop St Jude.
“We have received the resources – we have received from the Republic of China Taiwan additional resources for the redevelopment of the facility,” King stated.
He recalled that Economic Development Minister Guy Joseph himself has given a commitment that work will start in earnest within two or three weeks.
King expressed the hope that once the work gets off the ground, the facility will be completed in a timely manner so that health services in the South will return to normalcy, especially at St Jude Hospital.
“We all must take blame for not completing the facility within the ten years,” King told St Lucia Times.
Three patients died when fire devastated the St Jude Hospital ten years ago.
The facility’s operations were relocated to the George Odlum national stadium where they have remained to date.
A former Chairman of the St Jude hospital board last year described conditions there as ‘a dungeon of shame.’