More Chinese coming to work on MoBay children's hospital

More Chinese coming to work on MoBay children's hospital

Observer writer

Monday, January 18, 2021

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says arrangements are currently being put in place for the arrival of a second team of workers from China to resume construction work on the $5.7-billion Western Adolescent and Paediatric Hospital in St James which was brought to a halt because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The minister told the Jamaica Observer that he met last week with Tian Qi, the Chinese ambassador to Jamaica, to discuss the issue.

“...There is a process that it involves, [such as] work permits and a number of other things. But we are now coordinating that with the Chinese Embassy and other agencies of the State to continue that work on the ground. So, it is a work in progress,” said the minister.

The pandemic, said the minister, restricted travel and subsequently delayed work on the project. “So, that project is off by just over a year but largely a function of the virus and its impact on the movement of people and material, and all that,” explained Dr Tufton.

In April, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority, Errol Greene, told the Observer that the site was closed down by the Chinese, who were awaiting the arrival of equipment, material, and workmen from China.

He said then that a number of Jamaicans working on the project, which was originally scheduled to be completed by May of this year, were sent home. “Naturally, there is nothing there for them to do, because they would have pretty much completed their excavation and so on already. So, there was really nothing much for them to do. So they await the deliverables to come, and then they can start again,” Greene had explained.

Ground was broken for the six-floor 220-bed hospital on the compound of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Mount Salem on October 23, 2019.

Funding for the construction of the hospital is being provided by the governments of Jamaica and the People's Republic of China, and is being managed by the Urban Development Corporation.

When completed, the state-of-the-art facility will be able to treat children and adolescents up to 16 years old.

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