New matron's quarters for Hanover Infirmary
From left: Hanover Municipal Corporation chief engineering officer, Wayne Mitchell; Member of Parliament for Hanover Western, Tamika Davis; Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie; Hanover Infirmary matron, Kayon Dyer; and Councillor for the Lucea Division, Easton Edwards during a tour of the therapeutic park built at the Hanover Infirmary.

LUCEA, Hanover — The Hanover Infirmary is to get a new matron's quarters.

The revelation was made by Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie on Thursday during a tour of a therapeutic park built at the facility. The $5-million park, which consists of a gazebo and a fountain, is to be commissioned during Local Government Month in November. That has been tied to the promised matron's quarters.

"When I come to commission the therapeutic park in November, I will be breaking grounds for the construction of a matron's quarters as well," stated McKenzie.

He was unable to indicate the estimated cost as the project has not yet been through the procurement process.

"The bill of quantity is just being completed. The drawings have been done and as soon as the bill of quantity comes in, once we get that, the funds will be released to the Ministry of Local Government," McKenzie told the Jamaica Observer.

The minister said the therapeutic park is considered to be in the top two parks that have been established so far across the island and he credited it for enhancing the infirmary by providing a space for patients to unwind.

"The therapeutic park has offered a lot to the infirmity. It is uplifting. It gives them a space where they can sit, relax, and enjoy themselves. And, if you look at it, what was put there, believe me, it is a haven within the space that they are coming from," he said.

While McKenzie is impressed with the facility in Hanover, which he said is well run and one of the best-kept of the 13 infirmaries and two golden age homes across the country, he noted that 99 per cent of infirmaries across the island "are in top shape".

The minister said this is a result of significant investment by the Government since it first took office seven years ago.

"Almost all of them are new constructions that have taken place since 2016. Nobody can challenge or question what we have been doing in our infirmaries since 2016," he said.

He explained that the idea of a therapeutic park came out of a new thrust towards inclusiveness, which began in St Elizabeth.

"That was where the first therapeutic park was established and it worked in St Elizabeth. And we have extended that right across the length and breadth of Jamaica," stated McKenzie, who noted that the project started before the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.

So far, therapeutic parks have been installed at six infirmaries and one golden age home.

"Denham Town will not be included; because of the size of Denham Town, it would not be included. But the remaining infirmaries are taking shape," stated McKenzie.

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

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