Dr Guy said he is not surprised at the latest attempt by Minister Tufton to shift the blame for the debacle at CRH to the contractor, which should appropriately be placed at the feet of the Minister, his style of leadership and marketing of the Ministry of Health.
“Minister Tufton should simply accept responsibility for the chain of failures which has resulted in the set back of the project and the waste of millions of taxpayers’ funds,” Dr Guy said in responding to the latest statement that the delay is a function of the inexperience of the contractors.
The Opposition Spokesman on Health and Wellness said further that Dr Tufton’s suggestion to shift the project to overseas contractors is an indictment on the skills level and professional capacity of our tradesmen and it is manifestly unpatriotic.
Dr Guy said the Jamaican construction sector had contributed significantly to the development of Jamaica, not only in the construction of housing solutions but the creation of New Kingston as a commercial space; the Michael Manley Building, now housing the National Housing Trust (NHT), the refurbishing of the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and expansion of the Mandeville Regional Hospital, which included the construction and commissioning of new medical facilities. Both hospital facilities are functioning examples of our capabilities, he added.
Dr Guy has flatly rejected the suggestion that the lack of expertise within our local tradesmen in the building of hospital facilities as one of the causes of the failure at CRH. He said Dr Tufton had failed equally to acknowledge the impact of the administrative humbug and internal impediments, which resulted in the delay of the procurement process.
The Shadow Minister said on the CRH project to date, the country had already spent approximately Sixty Million Dollars (JMD 60M) for project management consultancy from a foreign consultancy which did not resolve the issues at the hospital. He said the naming of a new group of project managers is clearly another episode of waste of public funds which seems to have become the hallmark of Minister Tufton and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Dr Guy said last December at a Press Conference hosted by the Opposition, he specifically raised concerns regarding the progress of the work at CRH. During a tour of the facility by Opposition MPs, it was evident that there were issues, including the untimely disbursement of funds that was affecting the execution of the project.
“I highlighted then that the original deadline of April 2018 was shifted to September and then again shifted to November 2019, and on top of that, in July of 2020, Minister Tufton stated publicly that the rehabilitation of the CRH was progressing well with the first phase slated to be completed in August,” Dr Guy recalled. This assurance by Minister Tufton included several elements such as roof repairs, gutting of the tenth floor and establishment of the hoist for the removal of debris.
The next phase of work included the gutting of the entire building which was scheduled for September 2019 and to be concluded by December 2019, but this deadline was also missed. He said every missed deadline adds to the waste of public funds and said someone should take responsibility and abort the running stream of waste associated with the Cornwall Regional Hospital.
Beyond Dr Tufton’s feeble attempt to pivot from this latest debacle at CRH, the entire saga amounts to a disregard and disrespect of the people of Cornwall and Western Jamaica, who have been placed at a disadvantage because of the lack of services at the hospital facility despite the time elapsed and money spent. Dr Guy reiterated that this latest shifting of the responsibility to the contractor is wholly unacceptable and the Minister must move with alacrity to deal with this matter with the seriousness it deserves instead of promoting the use of foreign contractors.
In the final analysis, Dr Guy said, this also amounts to a betrayal of trust of the thousands of residents who use this facility, and Dr Tufton has a lot more to explain to the Jamaican people on the CRH debacle and the waste of public funds.
The people of Western Jamaica deserve better, he declared.
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