Leader of the Opposition Lennox Linton has called on government to announce a date for the commencement of construction of the new Marigot Hospital.
Linton, who was speaking in a Facebook live post on Sunday, April 16th, 2017, stated that the hospital is an important facility to the people of the North East, Marigot, Wesley, and the Kalinago Territory.
The current structure has been adversely affected by termites and mold, which forced its closure twice, but according to Linton, it was “the neglect, abandonment and poor management of facilities by the government” which resulted in its closure.
“We have come to 2017, and not withstanding numerous calls, notwithstanding begging and pleading for the hospital to receive priority attention, that has not happened. And we have seen what happens when the government decides that it wants to give priority attention to something,” Linton stated.
He noted that since the facility has been closed, the health center which was accommodated on the same compound had to be move to another location.
Government announced plans to retrofit another rebuilding as a new health center at a cost of 1.2 million dollars and this sum was approved in last year’s budget.
On 24 March 2017, the government of Mexico, through its Ambassador to Dominica, Luis Manuel Moreno, committed five million US dollars or 13.5 million EC dollars for the construction of the new Marigot hospital.
“The government has 1.2 million dollars that it says will be spent on retrofitting a building in Marigot to serve as the health center. It now has 5 million US for the new hospital, but you are hearing nothing about expediting the construction of the new Marigot Hospital. What you are hearing about is this retrofitting of the building for the health center,” Linton stated.
According to Linton, three hundred thousand dollars was approved in the 2016 budget for the plans and designs of the new facility, yet ten months of the financial year has passed but there has been no work being done in terms of tendering, or outsourcing the work.
However, Minister for Health and the Environment, Dr Kenneth Darroux confirmed in December 2016 that the tendering process had commenced for the design of the new medical facility. Dr Darroux also announced then that Marigot was among three medical facilities to benefit from a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) funded SMART Health Care Facilities project worth US38.3 million dollars being supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK AID).
Through this program, the medical facilities in Grand Bay, La Plaine and Marigot have been selected to undergo major improvements designed to make them disaster resilient and environmentally friendly.
He then stated that with the present commitment from Mexico, it is time for the government to announce a date when construction of the new hospital for Marigot to begin, as it should be a priority.
“As the duly elected representative of the constituency of Marigot, I am asking the government to stop it. I am asking the government to make an announcement on when we will see the commencement of construction for the new Marigot Hospital, for which the government has the commitment of 13.5 million from the friendly government of Mexico,” Linton urged.
“You have a commitment now, so let’s move ahead with the priority of the people of Marigot, the priority for the people of the Kalinago Territory all the way down to Calibishie, a priority for the country, because this is still the only hospital facility in closest proximity to the national airport,” Linton added.