Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has accused the Opposition PNM of attempting to torpedo the now contentious construction of the multi-million dollar hospital at Clarke Road, Penal. However, she assured the hospital would be built.
The hospital construction has become mired in controversy after a T&T Guardian report noted the T&T Government had signed a contract with troubled Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin to design and construct the building, although the World Bank had banned the company from bidding on projects funded by the bank for the next ten years, citing company misconduct in Bangladesh and Cambodia.
The recommendation for SNC-Lavalin's involvement in the $800 million facility came from the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).In the Parliament last Friday, Opposition MP Colm Imbert called on Government to stop the project, saying there are too many unanswered questions with the contractor.He questioned T&T's High Commissioner to Canada Phillip Buxo's involvement in the selection process.
Buxo, however, has denied he had any influence in discussions over SNC-Lavalin working in T&T, even though he was a director at the company before he took up his diplomatic post.Speaking at the UNC Monday Night Forum in Chaguanas West constituency, Persad-Bissessar said the Canadian Government was assisting her Government with the project.She accused the PNM of "fighting to shut down all of our development projects.
"And now in their latest conspiracy against the development of the country, they are looking for issues with the hospitals we are building in Couva and Penal."She said Government's objective was merely to put the right facilities and infrastructure in areas where they were most needed, for maximum benefit by all citizens.She said another project, the Couva hospital, would serve the needs of neighbouring communities in Balmain, Preysal and Chaguanas West .
She added: "The easy access to the Solomon Hochoy Highway makes it a very convenient location but the PNM does not want us to build that hospital and they are coming up with all manner of propaganda to try to stall the construction."But I tell you tonight, the Chinese Government has given us a commitment to build that hospital and we will build it for you.
"And we will build your hospital in Penal. The Canadian Government is helping us with that project, but again, the Opposition is trying to find any excuse to torpedo it. In typical fashion, they are spreading all manner of misinformation." Persad-Bissessar said there was a need for a hospital in Penal which was one of the more populous regions in the country.
She added: "The PNM neglect left tens of thousands of people without any access to proper healthcare. When a child gets sick or someone gets a heart attack, the closest hospital is San Fernando or Point Fortin. They die before getting help."That is why we have to build our Penal hospital so we can attend to your healthcare needs where you live."
The Canadian High Commissioner to T&T, G�rard Latulippe, revealed on Monday that the Canadian Commercial Corporation was still doing a due diligence review on SNC-Lavalin, following which it would decide whether SNC-Lavalin would build the hospital.