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Housing CRH facilities cripples church programmes – pastor

Published:Friday | November 20, 2020 | 12:06 AMChristopher Thomas /Gleaner Writer
A section of the Cornwall Regional Hospital, St James.
A section of the Cornwall Regional Hospital, St James.

Western Bureau:

Pastor Glen Samuels, the president of the West Jamaica Conference (WJC) of Seventh-day Adventists in Montego Bay, is concerned that his organisation’s mentorship and skills training programmes will suffer if he continues to house some of the departments from the neighbouring Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).

“It is a challenge because we committed ourselves to it as a church that serves the community, and we were aware that it would significantly curtail our activities, especially now that we are coming into December,” said Samuels, who offered sections of the church to house some of the hospital’s departments after noxious fumes forced the closure of some sections of the hospital.

The most significant challenge is the building closest to the main office because we finished that building in 2017, and that was built to house our skills training, especially with our commitment to mentorship,” Samuels explained to The Gleaner on Tuesday.

The WJC president said that continued housing of the departments they are catering to could impact the WJC’s upcoming quadrennial report on its mentorship programme, a report which is delivered every four years.

“Next year is the final full year in terms of the quadrennial reporting period, and I really would not want the quadrennium (four-year period) to finish without at least delivering on that strategic initiative. There are persons overseas, in the diaspora, who want to help us with the equipment and other stuff for our mentorship and skills training, so the question of continued aid to the CRH is well timed,” said Samuels.

“We will still struggle to keep the commitment with our auditorium, where they (CRH) have about 30 cubicles inside that section. I am still struggling with how long we can give up the mentorship building that we built for the skills training programme, so that is the most significant part of the struggle,” added Samuels.

The WJC has been providing its conference centre to house some of the CRH’s departments since 2017. The departments being housed include the hospital’s antenatal clinic, physiotherapy department, and several lab operations.

The CRH, which was built in 1974, began experiencing a noxious fumes issue in September 2016, which forced medical personnel to vacate the 400-bed hospital’s accident and emergency department, which occupied the bottom floor of the 10-storey Type A hospital.

The timeline for the hospital’s restoration was set for next month, but last month, the independent oversight committee monitoring the restoration work announced that the rehabilitation works, which include repairing the facility’s tower, has been pushed back to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.