The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony for the EC$13.5 mil­lion Den­nery Polyclinic was held on March 8 this year. The fa­cil­ity falls un­der the Disas­ter Vul­ner­a­bil­ity Re­duc­tion Project (DVRP) and is fi­nanced by the World Bank. It is ear­marked for the com­mu­nity of Bois Jolie, and the es­ti­mated time of com­ple­tion was given as 18 months. A sub­se­quent press re­lease by the Min­istry of Health days fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony in­di­cated that the project went through a pe­riod of “prepara­tory works, which in­cluded site iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and prepa­ra­tion, de­tailed ar­chi­tec­tural de­signs and a pro­tracted in­ter­na­tional bid­ding and pro­cure­ment process”.

On Mon­day this week the press was up­dated on the sit­u­a­tion from rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Min­istries of Health, Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, In­fra­struc­ture, and En­gi­neer­ing Con­struc­tion and Man­age­ment Con­sul­tancy (ECMC) Ltd.

Ivor Daniel, Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­fra­struc­ture, stated: “It was brought to our at­ten­tion that, from the project man­ager's stand­point, re­quests for in­for­ma­tion have been made. We've been at­tempt­ing to re­spond to those re­quests. It has been de­ter­mined by our con­sul­tant that those re­quests for in­for­ma­tion re­quire a deeper, tech­ni­cal en­gi­neer­ing in­ter­ven­tion, and that in­ter­ven­tion is be­yond the scope of the PS's of­fice. We've now got­ten the as­sis­tance of a de­sign re­view en­gi­neer in order to pro­vide the re­quired re­sponses to the con­trac­tor.”

Eg­bert Louis of the con­sul­tancy firm ECMC, ex­pounded: “A num­ber of those is­sues that were raised by the con­trac­tor, and which we ob­served as the su­per­vi­sion con­sul­tant, were re­lated to de­sign. One of the crit­i­cal is­sues is that dur­ing the ex­ca­va­tion of the foun­da­tion for the build­ing, we rec­og­nized that there are two or three ravines which pass through the site. This, of course, meant that we would need to un­der­take some sort of re­design of the struc­ture."

“All of these are rather nor­mal cir­cum­stances,” said Mr. Dwight Cal­ixte, Chief Health Plan­ner. “When you do the ex­ca­va­tion, if there are is­sues, then you would have to re­design the build­ing plan to suit its func­tion. For in­stance, with OKEU there were some re­designs done. This is why we have as-built draw­ings be­ing cre­ated. So it is quite nor­mal to relook, re­assess, re­design and move for­ward.”

As to when the new de­signs would be com­pleted, the PS in the Min­istry of Health, Mr. Philip Dal­sou, made no prom­ises: “I can't give you a pre­cise date but we're work­ing as­sid­u­ously to have it done in the short­est pos­si­ble time. Maybe a range of six weeks to three months. Don't hold me to it but we're look­ing at hav­ing the de­sign mod­i­fi­ca­tions com­pleted in the short­est pos­si­ble time. From there we'll be able to de­ter­mine cost.”

For his part, the Min­is­ter of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Guy Joseph, said: “We could have said we need to fin­ish this project be­fore the next elec­tions so let's over­look this, and let's take a makeshift ap­proach and try to com­plete it, re­gard­less of re­lated prob­lems ten years down the line. But that's not the ap­proach of this gov­ern­ment. We in­sist that any­thing we un­der­take should be prop­erly com­pleted, with­out short­cuts.”

---Joshua St. Aimee

Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters at the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony for the Den­nery Polyclinic in March. Left to right: Mary Is­sac, Ubal­dus Ray­mond, Ed­mund Estaphane, Her­mangild Fran­cis. Sec­ond from right: Guy Joseph.

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