“We made the move towards it (medical school), and what is spent is a drop in the bucket to get that industry going,” First District Representative, and Opposition Member, Hon. Andrew Fahie announced. The comment was to clarify details about the money that was spent for a feasibility study for a medical school during Hon. Fahie’s tenure as Minister for Education, and Culture during the previous administration.
Hon. Fahie was asked to comment on the study during the VIP Let’s Talk radio program on 7 January. In his response to questions on the medical school study he said that the document was available to be made public.
The First District Representative explained that the study went through proper execution channels and was not handled by him as the then Minister: “The medical school unlike what happened with the NHI (National Health Insurance) and many other things in the current administration went out for competitive bidding, independently of the Minister. The technocrats handled that,” Hon. Fahie announced.
“I saw the National Health Insurance scheme was just given to a consultant without any kind of process, for a million and change. So, if we are going to look at one, we are going to look at all in terms of the process and how we get the person hired, whether for medical school, drag racing whatever the case may be.”
The Opposition Member emphasized that the tender process was well advertised. He stated that he was even approached after by persons who wanted to carry out the study: “When we did the medical school [study], some people come and tell me that they could have done it for free and, when they named to me who wanted to do it for free, I told them that there was a tender that went out in the newspaper and, if anybody could have done it for free, they must also apply because there was a process.”
Hon. Fahie explained that the medical school initiative was a worthwhile endeavour and stated that neighbouring USVI also embarked on a similar project: “In St. Thomas, USVI, they signed to deal with medical school, I think almost to the tune of $30 million a year…We made the move towards it, and what is spent is a drop in the bucket to get that industry going.”
“The aim behind all of this was to start bringing in new revenue to diversify our economy in areas that some may be in favour of, and some may not be in favour of,” Hon. Fahie added.