Sun | Dec 4, 2016

stalled cardiac centre for children gets a push

Published:Tuesday | November 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The stalled construction of the cardiac centre being built on the Bustamante Hospital for Children is expected to get a much-needed push-start today with a donation of US$20,000 (J$2.4 million) by the United States-based Allegheny Petroleum Products Company.

That is merely a drop in the bucket, as the project had reportedly incurred cost overruns of just under J$50 million.

The Gleaner reported last month that the much-anticipated centre scheduled to be opened in March 2014 is yet to be completed.

Indications are that it will not be opened before the end of the first quarter of 2015, contrary to promises by chairman of the board of the hospital, Kenny Benjamin, and head of the Digicel Foundation, Samantha Chantrelle.

Taneisha Lewis, the public relations officer of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), has signalled in a media advisory that this morning, Jim Kudis, president of Allegheny Petroleum Products in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be handing over the cheque to Chain of Hope Jamaica for the purchase of equipment for the Cardiac Unit at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Allegheny Petroleum Products Company manufactures industrial, automotive and fleet lubricants.

BLAME EXCHANGED

Blame has been exchanged among Government, donors and stakeholders why funds including J$100 million donated by Digicel Jamaica on the occasion of its 10th anniversary were depleted before the structure was completed.

Acting chairman of SERHA, Dr Andrei Cooke, has sought to distance his organisation and, by extension, the Government, from administration of the construction phase of the centre. He said the project was totally off limits to all board members of SERHA and, by extension, the Government.

Cooke stressed that donors have been exercising autonomy over the project until it is handed over to SERHA.

The donors include the Digicel Foundation, Sagicor Limited, Chain of Hope and the Shaggy Foundation.

Between 300 and 400 children afflicted with heart conditions are awaiting the completion of the cardiac unit, expected to be the first of its kind in the region.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller broke ground for the cardiac centre two years ago.

Reports surfaced that some donors were not satisfied with aspects of the construction. Cooke declined to ascribe blame to any specific group or organisation involved in the exercise for the three-month delay.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com