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Fact or not? Irma blamed for delays in Iris O’Neal Medical Centre

- Construction of the facility increased to approximately $1.5ML
When Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) said the delay in the construction of the new Iris O’Neal Medical Centre at Virgin Gorda could be attributed to the 2017 hurricanes, was he telling the truth? Photo: GIS
At the Launch of the New Iris O’Neal Medical Centre’s Pledge programme, assurances were given that phase one of the facility will now be done by December 2018. Photo: VINO
At the Launch of the New Iris O’Neal Medical Centre’s Pledge programme, assurances were given that phase one of the facility will now be done by December 2018. Photo: VINO
Chairwoman of the Board of Director of the BVIHSA Mrs Ayana I. Glasgow-Liburd said on Friday that the facility now has a budget in the vicinity of $1.5ml. Photo: VINO
Chairwoman of the Board of Director of the BVIHSA Mrs Ayana I. Glasgow-Liburd said on Friday that the facility now has a budget in the vicinity of $1.5ml. Photo: VINO
Rotary Club of Tortola made a $50k pledge towards the centre. Photo: VINO
Rotary Club of Tortola made a $50k pledge towards the centre. Photo: VINO
VALLEY, Virgin Gorda, VI – When Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) said the delay in the construction of the new Iris O’Neal Medical Centre at Virgin Gorda could be attributed to the 2017 hurricanes, was he telling the truth?

Since breaking grounds in 2015 under the present National Democratic Party (NDP) administration, the new medical facility has hit several hiatuses, however in November of 2016 Project Manager Ms Shaina M. Smith was positive that the first phase of the project would have been completed by August 2017, approximately one month before the territory suffered major devastations.

However, on Friday, October 26, 2018, Ms Smith gave the assurance that phase one will now be done by December 2018. She was at the time addressing the Launch of the New Iris O’Neal Medical Centre’s Pledge programme. Upon completion, the first floor (phase one) will house departments for urgent care, pharmacy, x-ray and laboratory services, while the second floor will include dentistry and physical therapy services, consultation and examination rooms.

A steady increase in budget

The Ground Breaking and Contracting Signing Ceremony for the facility were held on March 30, 2015. The original contract sum of $5,969,687.39 was increased by $116,690.50 when the scope of works included additional earthworks and other necessary modifications, bringing the total construction cost to $6,086,377.89.

Since then, there have been further increases and this was revealed also on Friday. Chairwoman of the Board of Director of the BVIHSA Mrs Ayana I. Glasgow-Liburd said on Friday that the facility now has a budget in the vicinity of $1.5ml. The contract was awarded to James Todman Construction Ltd. 

However, corporate VI has been chipping in to put an ease on the government’s coffers. According to Mrs Glasgow-Liburb, “Since 2015 pledges have been made and received to be used towards the purchase of equipment for the centre.” Among those donors are Larry and Lucy Paige who donated $150,000, Road Town Wholesale $125,000, David and Pam Johnson $150,000, Honourable Hubert O’Neal $10,000 and the estate of Sharon Grimes of Ottawa Canada $5,000... Ms Grimes who died earlier this year left the amount in her will for the New Iris O’Neal Medical Facility.”

“By these pledges, we have a great start for the funds we need,” she said while adding, “Remember that is only through the participation of the community that we can receive our goal.”

Rotary Club of Tortola $50k pledge

More monies rolled in for the medical centre at Friday’s launch with a cheque for $50k from the Rotary Club of Tortola which was presented by 7020 Rotary District Governor-elect Mrs Delma Maduro and Past President Mr Henry O. Creque. They said that two areas of focus of the Rotary organization are Maternal and Child Care and Disease Prevention and treatment, “As BVI Rotarians, we take this very, very seriously as our record here would show we have given quite a lot of support to the health care system here in the BVI.”

According to DGE Maduro, over the year the entire Virgin Islands Rotary Family contributed significantly to the medical causes of the territory, especially to the BVIHSA.

Clinic not for Virgin Gorda only

Health Minister Hon Skelton at the Friday event said, “The health facility in Virgin Gorda is not about Virgin Gorda, it’s about the whole British Virgin Islands,” as he noted that there is a comprehensive health care plan for the territory which was rolled out back in 2004. “There is a comprehensive plan that involves the Peebles Hospital, the New Iris O’Neal Medical Centre, improved clinics both in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda and Anegada,” he said.

He added, “It’s important for us to understand it’s not about just building a facility here in Virgin Gorda but to ensure that all the people in the Virgin Islands will have access to healthcare wherever they are and get them to where they need to go for the health care that they need.”

According to the Health Minister, “There is also a plan to get an ambulance boat to bring people from Virgin Gorda to Tortola, we are hoping that the people in Anegada will access this clinic here (at Virgin Gorda) for minor needs and we are also trying to arrange with a helicopter service provider to get the critically injured taken to where they need to go.”

7 Responses to “Fact or not? Irma blamed for delays in Iris O’Neal Medical Centre”

  • 123 (30/10/2018, 11:55) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
    blah blah blah blah blah
  • Hmmmm (30/10/2018, 12:00) Like (13) Dislike (5) Reply
    Will completely finish, furnished and open Just before election.. Wow. Thank God for an Election year. Things get done. We get Jobs..we become important.. Yea.
  • Realy? (30/10/2018, 12:14) Like (15) Dislike (6) Reply
    Pure lies by NDP again.
  • crazy (30/10/2018, 15:01) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Work had halted well before Maria.
    Secondly, seems hare-brained to expect that Anegada patients would take a boat to the VG clinic for treatment when the can just easily go over to Tortola.
  • VG (30/10/2018, 17:36) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Did Dr. O'Neal's donation come from his personal money or from his district allocation?????
  • Not2Sure (30/10/2018, 23:36) Like (52) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ronnie trying to make a come back
  • Gumption.officail (31/10/2018, 08:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Politics are to blame for the delay on the health care Facility. Both VIP now currently NDP. Too many individual within the same or different parties who can’t stand each other etc. the results are having the citizens / taxpayers suffering and stressing out. That build been an white elephant for years. Just get it fix and open for December as we are told. No more games you guys.


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