Opposition Senator Matthew Joseph has cited the need for the relocation of the St. George’s General Hospital due to increased traffic jams within the Town of St. George as a major concern.
“St. George’s is just not the ideal place for a hospital,” Sen. Joseph told a sitting of the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday, where he advocated for the ruling Keith Mitchell-led government to engage the St. George’s University (SGU) in this regard, as a means to transform the health sector going forward.
The Senator was at the time contributing to a debate in the Upper House of Parliament, on the St. George’s University Limited Order, 2022, resolution, which among other things, seeks to establish a mechanism for SGU to make grant payments of US$30 million to the Government of Grenada when there are any equity changes for the first time, with amendments to several aspects of the SGU/Government of Grenada Charter, which was last revised in 2014.
Under the newly negotiated Charter, which was approved during this week’s sitting, SGU has agreed to pay two (2) full-time experienced clinical members to staff the facilities at the hospital services and to assist with sourcing volunteers for other services that may be required.
The NNP regime is set to receive an additional US$10 million as an advance against the future grant payable on the first future change of control, with prospects for an additional US$50 million from the next possible changes in SGU ownership.
In addressing Parliament, Sen. Joseph said: “We have an opportunity to engage with SGU now to see what can happen…that same $30 million could go into something that would transform the health sector.”
Situated directly below Fort George overlooking the city of St. George’s, the original General Hospital was built by the British, and used as a military.
Noting that “the dynamics have changed” since the colonial era, Sen. Joseph drew his colleagues’ attention to the increasing traffic jams within the Town, which has on countless occasions delayed access to the St. George’s General Hospital on Grand Etang Road.
“Traffic is a problem. I got stuck in traffic this morning coming up Cemetery Hill. There was traffic on Lucas Street, and that whole area there was crowded. St. George’s is just not the ideal place for a hospital. In case of an emergency, we know what can happen. There is no helicopter landing pad there, and this is key…So, my suggestion this morning (is) that we look at relocating the hospital. I think it is totally justified, and something that the nation would welcome,” the Opposition member told the Upper House.
“So, Mr. President, I think it is important that that kind of engagement (with SGU) takes place…” he said, noting that while “we cannot predict the outcome, the outcome could be very good for the nation.”
Government Senator, Winston Garraway responded by chastising him for stating that the hospital is in the wrong location, and expressed the view that Sen. Joseph “doesn’t have the competence to make that sort of determination.”
“PAHO (the Pan American Health Organisation) never said so, the report that was done never said so…there are implications for SGU when you say things like that, and we should not just come and say things wildly within this Honourable chamber,” the government senator said.
Sen. Garraway stressed that the world-renowned medical university has “invested significant resources… within the General Hospital at its current location.”
“So, sometimes I think Mr. President, we get the feeling that if we can beat (up) on an agreement because of the government in office at the time (that) you more or less will be embarrassing the government but really, and truly, it’s the people – the government is the people, it’s the people you are embarrassing,” he said.
THE NEW TODAY has seen a report done by PAHO suggesting that the General Hospital should be relocated to the site of the Mt. Gay Mental Home.
The 1990-95 Congress government had done drawings for the hospital project for Mt Gay.