Shadow Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville yesterday denied claims made by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in Parliament on Wednesday that the Christie administration failed to address the state of the Children’s Ward at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) following significant damage sustained during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Darville’s comments came after Minnis and Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands clashed with Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin over the matter.
During his contribution to the budget debate, Minnis claimed that instead of addressing the damage to the Children’s Ward, the PLP administration went on to spend millions of dollars on carnival in Nassau and Freeport.
“Apparently, the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) placed a greater priority on partying than they did on sick children,” he said.
Minnis added that the government is currently in negotiations with an entity to restore and reopen the Children’s Ward.
When The Nassau Guardian toured PMH in August, the Children’s Ward was in a state of disrepair, mostly being used as a storage room.
At the time, Sands said the children were put wherever space could be found.
The Guardian understands that the ward remains in that state to this day.
In a statement, Darville said, “The PLP bears no responsibility for what obtains in the Children’s Ward today.
“…The truth of the matter is the contract for the Children’s Ward was awarded on October 2016 to Guarantee Construction Company for exterior work which included the roof and window replacements at a cost of $379,478 and the exterior work was completed in July 2017.
“It’s important to point out that the exterior of the building had to be done first before the interior work could begin.
“The PLP lost office in May 2017. The completion of the Children’s Ward was therefore and remains the responsibility of the current minister of health and the Free National Movement.”
Darville charged that a letter from Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Catherine Weech, dated June 19, 2019, which was published in The Tribune yesterday, “clearly shows that two years after July 2017, this FNM government has done nothing”.
Weech said in that letter that, “Plans are in progress for renovations to the interior sections of the Children’s Ward South. Work is expected to commence during this upcoming budget year.”
Darville insisted that “the record should reflect the truth”.
“The repairs of the Children’s Ward had absolutely nothing to do with carnival,” he continued.
“This debacle, however, has everything to do with neglect by the Free National Movement (FNM) and the minister of health and the PHA’s failure to do its job today.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications