China funding Dominica’s new multi-million dollar hospital
ROSEAU — Dominica has launched the construction of an EC$40 million (one EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) National Hospital that China says represents a new era in relations between the two countries.
China’s Ambassador to Dominica, Li Jiangning told the ground breaking ceremony on Monday evening that the new facility “will bring higher quality medical services to the community in the years to come.
“I am confident that this new facility once it is completed . . . would enhance the capacity of Dominica to deal with new emerging health issues and challenges as well as current ones. It will contribute to long term social and economic development of this beautiful country.”
The Chinese diplomat said the new hospital will be “one of the most complicated and challenging project to construct for both sides . . . thanks to the tremendous efforts put in by both sides”.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that the new facility should serve as an impetus for Dominicans to put aside their political differences and unite for the socio-economic development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“I need more ambassadors for Dominica from Dominica. It is amazing ladies and gentlemen that we travel and hear the most delightful things foreigners say about this country and then you read what is advanced by persons whose navel strings are buried right here on this island.
“It is absolutely amazing some of the things they say. That is why I am saying . . . that I want this hospital project to be apolitical. This is not Labour or UWP starting construction for a new hospital. This is Dominica getting a new modern well equipped hospital to benefit every single citizen in our beautiful country.”
Skerrit said he was urging all Dominicans “to proclaim to the region and the world that Dominica has just started construction of a modern state of the art hospital and soon will boast some of the finest healthcare service in the region”.
He said the new facility could also spawn a new tourism product, “health and convalescent tourism which would be a wonderful adjunct to our famous nature island experience”.
The construction of the hospital by a Chinese firm, forms part of the four-pillar projects agreed to in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments when they re-established diplomatic relations in 2004.
The new hospital is being built on the same site at the present Princess Margaret Hospital, at goodwill, on the outskirts of the capital.
Negotiations for the hospital started in 2010.
Talks of constructing a new hospital in Dominica goes back to 2010 with Skerrit announcing three years later that the facility was among projects to be undertaken that year through gratuitous aid and concessionary financing from Beijing.