Monday, 20 June 2016 18:21

TEMP PM: Couva Children's Hospital still a construction site, Life Fund still operational Featured

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Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley was a bit late for Parliament on Friday, prompting the Opposition to express concern about his willingness to answer their questions.

The second sitting of every month is reserved for Questions to the Prime Minister but because the Prime Minister was not available, the Leader of Government Business Colm Imbert offered to speak on his behalf.

But Opposition Chief Whip Ganga Singh was not satisfied.

"The Standing Orders provide for Prime Minister’s Question Time on the second sitting at a particular time. It was deferred without debate and we agreed to that but now we are ready to ask the Prime Minister questions because today is Private Members Day."

But the Prime Minister turned up at around 4pm and answered questions prior to the tea break.

Several questions were asked about projects started under the previous regime, in particular the Couva Children's Hospital.

Prime Minister Rowley explained just why the hospital had not opened.

"The particular project is a subject of considerable misinformation. Let me once and for all state that the site and the project that is called the Couva Children's Hospital is a construction site. The information that I have is that the contractor is in possession of that site and there is work going on which is to complete it, the completed construction at the end of March."

He added that even when the hospital is completed, staffing would be an issue.

"With respect to opening this Couva Hospital which is as of today a construction site, it also involves staffing and of course the access, you know the road wash away. Staffing is a major consideration, even at the end of March when the construction would have ended, we have the concern of where the staff will come from."

The Prime Minister said if medical professionals were to be taken from other hospitals across the country it would deteriorate the level of care at those hospitals but assured that the Couva Hospital was a part of the health plan for the country.

Dr. Rowley also confirmed that people still have access to the Children's Life Fund.

"For the period September 2015 to present, seven persons were assisted to the tune of $2.285 million. For the same period September 2015 to now, 16 persons were approved with a dollar value of $4.262 million."

Dr. Rowley added that more people had applied for aid from the Fund.

"For the month of February 2016, six applications were received and for the period September 8th to present, we have received no complaint of money being stolen from the Fund."

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