GIS – Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, on Tuesday received parliamentary authorization to borrow US$20 million from the Export- Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The funds will be used to undertake works for the restoration of medical services at the Saint Jude Hospital.
Dr. Anthony said that the events which gave rise to this motion were the fire of 2009 which gutted Saint Jude Hospital and the official state visit to Taiwan during which the request for assistance was made.
The loan will partially complete the hospital reconstruction.
“The US$20 million will largely see us through but it is not going to be sufficient,” Dr. Anthony said. “There is still going to be a requirement for about US$5 million, which we are now exploring with the Government of Mexico who has agreed to make that sum available largely by allowing us to purchase the imported equipment which the hospital requires.”
The Prime Minister also addressed the mistaken perception that Saint Jude Hospital is only for the people of the South.
“Quite a number of persons from the north routinely travel to the south for medical attention. I am hoping that when the new hospital is established, both hospitals will co-exist competitively, so that if there are services that the people of Saint Lucia feel St. Jude Hospital is far better able to provide at a lower cost, then they can make use of the facility in the south.”
The loan must be repaid within twenty years following a grace period of three years. Interest will be paid in the amount of US$206,000 during the grace period.