The Prime Minister has said the Government made the decision to enter into a partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) to operate the Couva hospital, partially to avoid paying a possible $200 million debt owed to UWI.
Dr Rowley shared this while speaking to an audience at the sod-turning ceremony for the Diego Martin Health Centre on Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard earlier today.
"We decided to kill a number of birds with one stone," Rowley said.
He told the audience a few months ago, UWI reported to Caricom heads that the university's accounts were in trouble because Government's like TT owe the university substantial sums of money and those monies have not been forthcoming.
"I enquired and discovered that TT owes the university, according to them and we are still discussing that, approximately $200 million.
He said the Government was required to pay this in short other to prevent the university from getting in difficulty with its accountants.
"We subsequently raised with the university since we have this new hospital in Couva and since we would want to elevate our healthcare delivery in TT including training of healthcare delivery persons, doctors and so on, could we not satisfy our debt to the university by providing them with this hospital that clears off the debt and frees the Minister of Finance to spend money on other things in the country like this health centre but also allows the university to operate in TT a private hospital in partnership with Government to provide advanced healthcare delivery for a fee which the Government will pay for as the Government sends patients there," Rowley said.
He said what was more important was that TT could open to the region and the outside world and earn foreign exchange by providing health services in TT to people who can access it for a fee.