Executives of the Saint Lucia Employers Federation (SLEF) will soon meet to discuss the St. Jude Hospital construction project, after which the federation will issue an official statement on the matter.
The embattled St. Jude Hospital project in Vieux Fort begun sometime after the original hospital was destroyed in a fire in 2009. The project was instituted by the United Workers Party (UWP) under the leadership of Stephenson King. It was scheduled to be completed during the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) reign between 2011-2016 but remains incomplete.
Shortly after coming into office in 2016, the current Allen Chastanet-led Administration halted construction and have been investigating the project. Recently, talks of demolition have surfaced as government believes that the structure is extremely faulty and over budget.
Just last week, Chartered Accountant Frank Myers supported the idea of a forensic audit of the project following a pronouncement by Economic Development Minister Guy Joseph that government was considering conducting one.
President of the employers federation Vern Gill believes that though an audit is important, a major focus should be to get the hospital up and running at the soonest possible time.
“I believe our interest, apart from understanding what happened is about how you get to the point of getting the institution working. So yes, there is a benefit in the audit to determine for a fact what happened but that doesn’t facilitate or assist in how we move forward necessarily, because we certainly need to move forward with the project to have a proper hospital operating in the south, where we have our international airport, and hoping to have development down there,” he said.
“…We have to get more information. We have not seen any of the reports… I believe that there is a concern that having spent the amount of money that persons are saying has been spent we don’t have a facility that is ready to be occupied…. So we have agreed that at our next executive meeting, we will discuss it and perhaps present a formal statement on the matter,” stated.