Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone explained why the previously planned opening for the Nurse Iris O’Neal clinic on Virgin Gorda never materialized.
After being delayed for years it was announced earlier this year that on 22 February some three days before the 2019 general elections the facility was going to be finally opened. However, on February 21 it was announced that the planned handover ceremony was postponed.
While unofficial explanations and reasons circulated among members of the public no formal reasons were given. However, last week Hon. Malone during an interview on JTV revealed why the opening was stalled.
The Minister for Health said: “It was not ready, it’s just about ready now to turn over from construction and we are now getting the furnishings and the equipment ready so that we can have the building opened.”
“When we got in, we found that they may have turned it over but the contractor needed to be there another six to seven months in order for him to complete the works that he was actually contracted to do”.
So far, an official opening date has not been announced and the Minister during the interview hesitated to provide an actual time. He did however confirm a previous announcement that the facility would be opening by year end.
Last month Deputy Premier, Minister Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration and Ninth District Representative Hon. Vincent Wheatley announced that the Nurse Iris O’Neal clinic in Virgin Gorda, which has had many completion dates revoked might be finally opening.
While speaking in the House of Assembly on 2 September during the Private Members business Hon. Wheatley hinted that an opening date might be finally set: “Later this month we are hoping to open the Nurse Iris O’Neal Medical Center that’s coming on very, very nicely,” the Minister said.
The Nurse Iris O’Neal clinic was expected to be open years ago; and this is the second time since the February general elections that mention of opening has been made.
The ground breaking ceremony for the Nurse Iris O’Neal Clinic took place on 30 March, 2015 and since that time there have been multiple opening dates and promises of close-to-completion. At the start of the project the clinic was expected to cost five million dollars ($5M), however that cost bumped up to six point five million dollars ($6.5M)
The mini hospital on Virgin Gorda is expected to operate 24 hours non-stop and offer emergency care, family care, mental and radiology and many other services