Local, foreign interests peak for construction of specialty hospitals – Health Minister

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony has revealed that there is significant local and foreign interest from the Private Sector in constructing specialty hospitals in Guyana.

An artist’s impression of the specialty hospital which was conceptualised under the PPP/C Govt

In an interview with this publication, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony revealed that Government wants to facilitate these interests.
“In terms of specialty hospital, apart from maybe Government investing, there has also been a lot of interest from the Private Sector, locally and foreign, to invest in developing specialised services. So, we are very favourable to such investments,” the Minister said.
“And we’re hoping that we can start working with those Private Sector companies to start realising them. And if there are others who want to come in, we’ll be happy to review and offer advice and see how we can enable them to invest,” Dr Anthony explained.
When it comes to the remaining Indian line of credit that was converted from funding a specialty hospital to upgrading existing regional ones, Anthony said that discussions are ongoing. However, he was optimistic of seeing design works for the upgrades of the West Demerara, Suddie and Bartica hospitals commencing next year.
“Right now, the discussions we have with the Indian Government relates to three hospitals, the West Demerara Hospital, where we are expecting to invest maybe about US$7 or $8 million, and we’re looking at the Suddie hospital, a similar sum and the Bartica Hospital,” the Minister explained.
“So, these are three hospitals we’re looking at immediately. We’ve started those discussions with India and we’re going to continue those negotiations. And I expect by early next year, we’ll start seeing some more concrete movements. Design of the hospitals and other things will be going into place,” he added.
At least one company, Cardiology Services Incorporated headed by renowned Guyanese Cardiologist Dr Mahendra Carpen, has publicly indicated its interest in building a specialty hospital in Guyana.
However, the company was unwittingly vested with land under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), while the Government was in a caretaker status.
With the change of Government, the company has since said it would return the land to ensure there is a fair and transparent land allocation process. Dr Carpen has signalled his intent to work with the current Government to bring the specialty hospital to fruition.
At one point, the Government of Guyana was in the process of constructing a specialty hospital of its own at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara. To fund it, the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration secured a US$18 million Line of Credit (LOC) from the Indian Export-Import (EXIM) bank.
This hospital would have provided specialised services to Guyanese and eliminated the need for persons to travel overseas for expensive, lifesaving treatment. Back in 2012, the contract to construct the hospital was awarded to an India-based company, Surendra Engineering Corporation Limited.
At the time, however, a competing Indian company named Fedders Lloyd Corporation had opposed the bid. After the former APNU/AFC Government entered office in 2015, it proceeded to hand the contract to Fedders Lloyd, which was subsequently blacklisted by the World Bank for unrelated procurement breaches. With that, the specialty hospital project hit its final snag.
In a previous interview with Guyana Times, former Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam had expressed disappointment in the scrapping of the transformative project.
This is especially with the upcoming economic development the country is about to experience as a result of the oil boom. Mahalingam, who ended his five-year tour in Guyana last year, had stressed the need for such a facility in Guyana. (G3)