THE Prime Minister was thankful that the central block of the Port of Spain General Hospital survived Tuesday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake.
Dr Rowley expressed his thanks at a Conversation with the Prime Minister at the Scarborough Library, Tobago on Thursday night. Referring to comments from several people about the evacuation of patients from that part of the hospital, the PM said, “Since 2009, that central block had been found to be engineeringly unsound.”
He added that successive administrations since 2009 have spent billons of dollars on the block. Telling the audience the PM’s official residence in St Ann’s is close to the hospital, Rowley declared, “I was terrified that that building, in that strength of earthquake, could come down.”
The PM said the building had suffered some damage ” and now it is even worse than it was in 2009.”
The audience applauded as Rowley said Government is “aiming to use private-sector money to build a replacement building, and we are well under way in that.” He said by mid-September all proposals for this project should be received, and will be evaluated and a decision made accordingly.
In a statement yesterday, the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) said all five floors of the central block have been cleared and there were at present no functional wards in that area.. The NWRHA said 120 patients were relocated to wards one, three, 15, 16 and 17 of the hospital’s north block, and added that this measure was taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure the continued safety of staff, patients and visitors owing to the earthquake and in the event of further aftershocks.
The PM also said the Scarborough Hospital would be partnering with the Couva Children’s and Adult Hospital to help improve health care in TT.
Responding to a businesswoman who said she was being ridiculed for supporting the Sandals Tobago project, Rowley told her there was similar opposiiton when the Claude Noel Highway was being built and urged her not to be disheartened.
Saying the hotel could cost US$400 million to build, Rowley said Government is inviting equity partners so it does not have to carry the whole cost. He reminded his audience that the Hyatt Regency and Hilton Trinidad hotels are government-owned but managed by a hotel operator, and the same arrangement will obtain for the Sandals Tobago resort.