Specialty Hospital Project to be restarted under new PPP/C Govt – Dr Anthony
Citing the lack of specialty healthcare in Guyana, Dr Frank Anthony, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic point-person on health, says when the Party returns to power, it will restart the Specialty Hospital Project, which was scrapped by the current coalition Administration.
This commitment was made over the weekend during a rally at Damon’s Square at Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
“We will return to one of the PPP/C’s flagship programmes and that is we are going to build a specialty hospital,” Dr Anthony declared to thousands of supporters.
The former Government Minister was at the time reflecting on the state of the health sector in the country.
Dr Anthony, who was the Opposition’s Shadow Health Minister, referred to instances right on the Essequibo Coast when persons seeking medical attention at the hospitals had to wait long hours for treatment.
In this regard, he slammed the David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government for not developing the sector, explaining that Guyana needed a healthcare system that was responsive to the population’s needs.
“We want a healthcare system that is responsive to our needs…we must feel confident that when we get sick that we can go to our hospitals and get the best care possible,” Dr Anthony posited.
The US$18 million Specialty Hospital Project, which was being funded by the India Export Import (EXIM) Bank via a line of credit (LOC), was dropped in 2016 after the contracted company, Fedders Lloyd Corporation Limited – which was handpicked by the coalition Administration— was blacklisted by the World Bank until 2020 over fraud and corruption practices.
The Guyana Government subsequently announced that the Project was “dead”.
The Specialty Hospital Project started under the PPP/C Administration and back in 2012, the contract was awarded to India-based company Surendra Engineering Corporation Limited. However, citing instances of alleged fraud and delays, the Donald Ramotar Administration in 2014 announced that it had terminated the contract and filed a lawsuit against the company for failing to honour its obligations.
While in Opposition, both A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), before they collated, had opposed the US$18 million project and upon their assumption to office in 2015, decided to scrap the project, which had already expended some US$4 million on preliminary works. The coalition Government then approached India to divert the remaining US$13.8 million towards improving the country’s primary healthcare service by upgrading three public hospitals across the country.
Former Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam had expressed disappointment in the scrapping of the project.
He had also posited that Guyana needed such a medical facility and the Indian Government would be open to the idea of restarting the project.
For the PPP/C, Dr Anthony assured that the Party has a plan to improve the health sector.
“We don’t want drug shortages; we want medicine in our health centres and hospitals; we want better labs, better diagnostic services … and when the PPP/C gets back, we will overhaul the entire system and make it work for you,” Dr Anthony said.