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STREET BEAT: Finish the clinic!


CARLOS ATWELL

STREET BEAT: Finish the clinic!

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THE ST JOHN POLYCLINIC PROJECT has gone through multiple political administrations and ministers of health as well as a proposed name change.

Construction has started, stalled, resumed, stalled, resumed and is now apparently stalled again as reports indicate there is a cash flow problem and the contractors have stated they will not be going back to work until they are paid. Bush is now reclaiming the property.

This has many residents incensed.

Adessa Waithe said the completion of the polyclinic would be a great relief to her as she lived nearby but, as things looked, she would be dead long before it was ever completed.

“This has been doing for donkey years,” she said. “This was out of the ground before [former Prime Minister the late David] Thompson gone long and now it still ain’t done and I too might dead before I get to go into this place.”

Waithe said she once had chikungunya and had to catch a bus to go to another polyclinic when she was within walking distance of one which seemed destined to remain unopened.

“I could barely get in or out the bus. If this one was done, that wouldn’t happen. It would be real convenient for me,” the irate woman said.

Wayne Barrow, another resident, said the people of St John were now a laughing stock.

“This constituency has never voted BLP [Barbados Labour Party] but after numerous DLP [Democratic Labour Party] Governments and we still do not have proper health facilities. In 1999 it was just steel, now it is a beautiful building but it is still not open. Everybody must be laughing at St John.”

Barrow criticised the old polyclinic which he said had no seating and was hardly fit for animals.

“It is sad that in 2015 where we want to be a first world country that we have this beautiful building that cannot open when the next one is not fit for animals,” he said.

Barrow said the representative, Mara Thompson, was the one who should be championing their cause but added they had no wish to pressure her.

“I understand she is overburdened but I hope her conscience allows her to do something after we gave her a job for five years, although I don’t want to harass her,” he said.

Barrow, a landscaper, said he would even be willing to trim vegation on the property without pay and be owed the money although he said “not for too long”. He recommended that all money going to St John projects go towards the polyclinic.

“We saw a football tournament done in a good man’s name but we wish that money could have gone here. We want any money going into St John, like into the pavilion, to instead go here,” he said.

Another man, who requested anonymity, said he was a worker on the project but was laid off.

“I was doing a little of everything in there – the roof, windows and concrete – and I get lay off out of the blue and I ain’t even get pay out. The work wasn’t hard but the pay was off and on. They say they didn’t have any money,” he said.

Street Beat sought to get a reply from the contractors ADC Building and Maintenance Limited and architects Michael C Lashley Architects Ltd but was told to speak to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Tennyson Springer who in turn referred the matter to Minister of Health John Boyce.

In a telephone interview, Boyce said the matter of the St John Polyclinic was set to come to an end soon.

“There was a break, a little longer than usual, but we will finish soon. There are some issues we are trying to work out between the contractor, the project team and the owners – us – but we are negotiating with them and we are very near to completion and once done, the polyclinic will be completed,” he said.

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