OCHO RIOS, St. Ann: Emergency repair work has been ordered for the St. Ann Infirmary to address deficiencies at the facility.
The Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, announced that $50 million will be made available to undertake the renovations.
“It’s going to take a good amount of money, especially for the kitchen. We have to put down literally a new kitchen. We have to ensure the building is sanitized, because it’s an old building and it is infested with chi-chi (termites), so that is one of the first orders of business,” shared Minister McKenzie.
“We’re going to pay some attention to the bathroom, the male section of the infirmary. The Ministry is going to be providing $50 million at the outset. The Permanent Secretary will have direct responsibility for how that $50 million is going to be spent, working with the municipal corporation.”
The Minister along with representatives from the Ministry and the St. Ann Municipal Corporation toured the facility on August 18.
He also said that the facility, which is situated close to the coastline, has suffered from the effects of seawater exposure over the years, and that the building has become termite-infested.
Minister McKenzie noted that the repair work will be done under the direct supervision of Permanent Secretary, Marsha Henry-Martin, who will collaborate with the St. Ann Municipal Corporation to ensure the effective use of funds.
He also said that should lands become available for the construction of a new infirmary within the next three months, an additional $100 million would be needed to erect the new facility.
Matron at the St Ann Infirmary, Alicia Drummond Knight, welcomed the plans to upgrade the facility, which houses 84 residents.
“I am pleased that Minister McKenzie took the time to come here at the St Ann Infirmary to do a walk-through with us. We have been having several challenges as he mentioned, and we are hopeful now, based on what he said, that we will get the help that we need here.”
The Minister also lauded the dedication and commitment of the infirmary staff to provide care and assistance to those in need, despite the challenging conditions.