Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the roughly $4-billion renovation project at the State-run Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, which is now faced with a cost overrun, is now under review.
Following issues with local contractors, the minister reportedly stated that phase three — the largest portion of the project, which is valued at approximately $3 billion — will be put to international tender.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, following a virtual meeting held with critical stakeholders to iron out issues concerning the delay of the project, Tufton said his position remains the same.
The minister also stressed that the review is aimed at finding the best possible approach to enhance the efficiency of the implementation of the project.
“My position remains that while a lot has been achieved, a lot more could have been achieved with better coordination of the project, and that there is a need for a review which is taking place with some possible new recommendations in terms of how we proceed in the new year,” the minister said.
Among the critical players who participated in the meeting were architects, the project management entity and engineers who raised concerns and clarified issues, among other matters.
Rehabilitation work on the Type A facility commenced in 2017 to address mould and air quality issues, resulting in the relocation of a range of clinical and support services.
The multi-billion-dollar project was scheduled for completion late this year. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic and onerous government procurement guidelines have contributed to delays in the completion of works being carried out at the hospital.
In October, permanent secretary in the health and wellness ministry Dunstan Bryan told a sitting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee that phase one of the project, which involved repairs to the hospital’s roof, had been completed.
Bryan said the gutting of the entire building under phase two-A was 90 per cent complete, and phase two-B 40 per cent complete. He added that procurement for phase three, which includes acquisition of furniture and equipment, was still in progress.