Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has expressed the hope that when when completed in 2020, the reconstructed St Jude Hospital will erase the sad memories of the last 10 years that resulted in the medical institution having to operate from a sports stadium.
Chastanet made the comments on his official Facebook after after officially welcoming Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen who arrived here Wednesday on a state visit.
The Saint Lucia PM and President Tsai participated in a sod turning ceremony for the St Jude Hospital reconstruction project which will be partially funded by the Taiwanese government.
The original St Jude Hospital was destroyed in a devastating 2009 fire that claimed the lives of three patients.
Prime Minister Chastanet recalled that from almost day one after the fire, Taiwan has been in the forefront of providing grant and loan assistance to Saint Lucia to finance the rebuilding of the medical facility.
“Though we have had a series of setbacks and challenges along the way, that have caused frustration to both our government and our people as well as to those who had offered a hand in helping us cope with the fallout from the disastrous fire, we are motivated to deliver a new, state of the art hospital to the people of the south once and for all,” he declared.
“As such, Government has appointed Taiwanese Construction firm Overseas Engineering Construction Company (OECC) to be the main contractor to execute this project and given their experience in construction and in building hospitals, we are confident that they will deliver this project on time and within budget,” Chastanet stated.
The St. Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project will deliver a 90-bed facility that will cater for both inpatient and outpatient services, he noted.
The PM observed that it will comprise a new wing to incorporate all the functions and services of the existing East and Surgical Wings; inter- connected two-storey structures to be erected on the left- hand side of the entrance to the existing site; integration through retrofitting of some existing buildings to achieve a fully functioning hospital to match the services of a level 4 facility; and revision of the internal layout of buildings to be integrated for functional efficacy and compliance to minimum standards.
“I would again like to place on record my government’s appreciation for the patience and cooperation of the doctors, nurses and staff of St Jude during these very difficult 10 years and to promise them that we are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let us all keep the faith and look to the future with confidence,” he said.