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Repairs are being carried out on the George Odlum Stadium in Vieux Fort which is being used as a makeshift hospital until a new St. Jude Hospital is constructed and completed, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told reporters earlier this month.
The halted controversial St. Jude Hospital project was nowhere near completed, according to officials, and Chastanet foresees that members of the public will be using the George Odlum Stadium for at least another two years.
“We currently trying to fix the roof structure at the stadium, do a re-electrical and new plumbing in other to make that facility as comfortable as possible. We will be there for at least for another two years. And the idea is to present a plan to the public of St. Lucia whether it is to fix up and continue the St. Jude’s building as it is, or whether to build a new building,” Chastanet said.
The new St Jude Hospital project was about 50 percent completed and had already cost some $118 million, government officials told reporters in 2017.
Citing structural issues, the current administration has refused to proceed with the project despite public protests, backed by Opposition supporters.
Windowless and poorly ventilated recovery rooms, small A&E (accident and emergency) entrances, a maze of dark swirly corridors, bumpy ramps and low-lying ceilings were some of the sights that greeted journalists on a walk-through of the St. Jude Hospital construction site in September 2017.
The prime minister said a new facility may be constructed.
“The fact is that all our evidence show that that hospital is over a year and a half away from being open. And that’s going to require an excess of $115 million to open it. So, we are assessing the situation in terms of determining what the best way forward, recognising that we need to have a hospital in the south, and we need to have it as soon as possible. But in the meanwhile we have accepted the fact that we are going to be in the existing facility for at least another two years,” he said.
Patients and services have been housed at George Odlum stadium since 2009 when a deadly fire destroyed the St. Jude Hospital.