NEW hospitals at Point Fortin and Arima will be completed by September, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh told yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
He also said the Government has approved the award of a $1 billion contract to Shanghai Construction Group to build a new central tower block at Port of Spain General Hospital.
The bid, by the firm that built Couva Children’s Hospital under the former regime, came in $600 million lower than its nearest rival, Deyalsingh added.
The edifice will accommodate 540 beds, up from 400 beds in the old block. Work will begin in September, after which construction is expected to last 24-30 months, the minister said.
He said the St James Hospital will be upgraded at a cost of $53 million to be expanded from its current role of offering radiation and accident and emergency (A&E) services to offering 69 additional beds, plus a laboratory and an operating theatre. The China Railway Construction Caribbean Company will do the construction, he added.
Asked about global concerns about Chinese neo-colonisation, Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert stepped in to disagree, saying, “I don’t think that is fair, accurate or factual. It’s a false premise.” He added that Chinese firms had built structures under the former government, including the Couva Children’s Hospital, and national cycling and swimming centres.
Communications Minister Stuart Young chimed in that Chinese firms had also built the Diplomatic Centre and the north and south Trinidad buildings of the National Academy for the Performing Arts, known respectively as NAPA and SAPA.