Prime Minister Davis says new land had to be sought out to construct GB’s new hospital

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Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hon. Philip Davis (left) chats with Grand Bahama Senators Kirkland Russell and James Turner on Friday, June 17, 2022, in the Board room of the Ministry of Grand Bahama, following a contract signing for the renovation of the morgue at the Rand Memorial Hospital. (BIS Photos/Andrew Miller)

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis says his plans for breaking ground for a new, state- of-the-art hospital in Grand Bahama by the end of this fiscal period was hampered because of land issues.

During a press conference at the Ministry of Grand Bahama, on Friday, June 17, 2022, for the $1.6 million contract signing for the renovation of the morgue at the Rand Memorial Hospital, the Prime Minister noted that the government had to seek out other land on which to construct the proposed new hospital.

“The last time I was here, I mentioned that we would be breaking ground soon on a new hospital,” said Prime Minister Davis. “The (Health) Minister will tell you that I wanted to do that before the end of this fiscal year in June. Unfortunately, where we wanted to put the hospital, on land that we had acquired in 2015 for the purpose of a new hospital, it was leased out for porridge by the former administration. That is now the site of the Atlantic Medical School of Medicine.

“We attempted to get back some of the land, but that is not working. So now we have to revisit the venue for which we want to build that hospital. I can say that we have already secured the funds for the purpose of constructing that hospital.

“It was just a matter of us identifying the land, which we have. The land does not belong to us, but we intend to acquire the land as quickly as possible. The Minister has told me that they are conducting a topographical study to ensure that the area we have identified would be suitable for the hospital that we intend to build.

“I’ve told the Minister this morning that we need to move quickly to get this done, because I want my word to mean something.” Prime Minister Davis said that Grand Bahama will continue to be at the forefront of his government’s efforts. He said he’s aware of the challenges on the island and that his government intends to bring relief.

“We will not just talk about it, we’re going to do it and this contract signing is a step in that direction.”

He pointed out that the Dorian experience has truly exacerbated and revealed the weaknesses in the country’s health care systems and one of them is the morgue department. He added that many Grand Bahamians can recall the traumatic experience they would have had following Hurricane Dorian and the impact it had on lost loved ones in a system that was overwhelmed, that left many bodies piled up and no system of identification was easily carried out.

“What I want us to appreciate is that climate change is real,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“There was much talk about the tropical system that passed through Grand Bahama two weeks ago, the heavy rain it brought and the damages that were done. All of that is related to climate change. We have to find the money to correct, adapt and mitigate those losses.

“That’s why whatever they say about me travelling…I’m travelling to let the world know that we are not at fault. We are not emitters of carbon into the air. In fact, our emission is less than point zero one percent of all the world carbon emissions.

“We are at the mercy of the major countries and emitters. But I think that I’ve gotten their attention now and we should see some assistance coming to us.

Forty percent of our national debt is directly linked to the consequences of climate change.

“Every time we have a hurricane, there is loss and damages and we have to restore, rejuvenate and recover. That cost money. Where do we get it from? We have to borrow it. So our debt is continually rising because of it. But I’m convinced that we have the attention of the world now on this issue.”