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Dec 12, 2017

E.U. Grant for Western Regional ‘Drap Da Wata’

One of the exchanges in Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives came on the adjournment between Minister of Health Pablo Marin and Cayo Northeast area representative Orlando Habet. Habet queried for an update to the planned expansion of the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan among other health issues. That hospital, built over forty years ago, was the site of the infamous ‘rat in the incubator’ scandal, not to mention other dangerous creatures on its grounds. In his announcement in the House of Representatives, Marin spoke of an upgrade next year with much more limited funding, seemingly to downplay the loss of the E.U. grant. But News Five has learned that the ministry did not move quickly enough to secure the promised thirty million dollars for a new wing of the hospital – it never finished the paperwork – and a result there has been no change.

 

Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Area Rep., Cayo Northeast

“Then-C.E.O. [Dr.] Peter Allen said, (Quote) “While the budget for the hospital has been well-stretched, no amount of money can disguise the hospital’s many faults.” (Unquote) And I’m sure, maybe the C.E.O. was also referring to the rat infestation that was seen earlier in April, and which the Amandala has termed as ‘rat motel.’ While Petrocaribe was an option, said the C.E.O., the Ministry chose to seek grant funding through the eleventh European Union Development Fund for thirty million dollars. That grant has been approved, he said, but before the first pile is sunk into the ground, Allen says, the Ministry will come to the people of Belmopan for their input on a hospital which will not only serve them, but also act as a referral center for all the central and western region, from Belize City to Cayo, especially in times of national emergency.”

 

Pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“Talking about the hospital that we wanted to do in Belmopan. Yes, the funds were there with the E.U., but it was E.U. funds. It happened that there was some kind of problems from the EU that we couldn’t get the funds anymore. So that hospital is not going to be done right now. We had some funds we have already approved, last two weeks, through SIF – one-point-four million for us to do an extension to the hospital here in Belmopan, which will be another wing, which will work more or less like a polyclinic. And that’s supposed to start in about twelve months from now, but definitely we are going to do it.”

 

News Five tried today to contact Doctor Ramon Figueroa, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, to clarify the “problems” Marin referred to. We were told by a ministry spokesperson that he was wrapping up a holiday and would be in office later this week.

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