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Pointing to new documents in the ongoing controversy surrounding the St. Jude Hospital construction project, Economics Development Minister Guy Joseph is questioning why St. Lucians are blaming him for circumstances surrounding the delay in the completion of the project.
Speaking at the weekly pre-Cabinet press briefing on Monday, Joseph suggested that Dr. Kenny Anthony is to be blamed for the delays.
In supporting his views, Joseph quoted a letter from the former project consultant to a medical equipment company in January 2016, which indicated that the hospital would be completed by August 2016.
Joseph said: “So why wasn’t the hospital completed, based on this information? And why is it [that it’s] Guy Joseph the people of St. Lucia want to hold accountable? Why Dr. Anthony, as a failed parliamentary representative for Vieux Fort South and a failed prime minister, could not deliver on one project for the people of Vieux Fort – the St. Jude project – but he is talking today about if anybody touches St. Jude that there is going to be no peace and no rest in this country? Is that what he has to offer St. Lucia after failing to deliver on what he promised?”
He continued: “You give them three months advance notice to manufacture the equipment and you need another three months for permission, which altogether works out to about six months. So when all the other ministers before were giving you dates for the opening of St. Jude it is obvious that they were lying because they had never commissioned the production of this equipment. So even if this letter was to be believed as true, did they ever give Biomedical Engineering a start date?”
Joseph said the then Saint Lucia Labour Party government is responsible for the construction faults and the completion of the project.
“The Labour Party could not deliver the project. They are the ones who changed the scope of work. They are the ones who did the extensions. And you know what I found out, this morning? That when they designed that hospital the biomedical people gave them the specifications. They did not follow the specifications given by the biomedical people. So the section that was built below in the basement to put the high tech equipment, they were informed that you do not put high tech equipment on the ground floor,” Joseph said.
Reports are that government is currently in talks with Medical Laboratory Equipment Company and Biomedical Corporation International about payments on the equipment earmarked for St. Jude.