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Does the old become new when renovated?

Published:Thursday | March 23, 2023 | 12:24 AM


An old bottle does not become new because it has been sterilised, has a new label placed on and new wine poured in.

Renovation is not making a new thing, but making something look new. Imagine that a minibus which travelled hundreds of thousands of miles over 30 years delivering medical supplies islandwide was repaired, renovated and refurbished extensively and installed with a new engine. Consider, too, that it received other new mechanical and electrical parts and was rescoped (as) an ambulance with ultra-modern equipment and accessories and looking truly new, (and ) was sold as a brand new ambulance. Would it be a genuinely brand new vehicle or ambulance?

If the answer is no; (that the old made to look new is definitely not new), then it is also reasonable to conclude that a house or hospital which was constructed half a century ago and is redesigned, renovated, refurbished extensively and even rescoped and looks quite new would still not fit the category as an entirely new house or hospital. I will, however, readily concede that this thinking is not universal because there are many who will argue otherwise.


A classic example is the ongoing rehabilitation of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) which opened in 1974, two years after construction was completed in 1972. It has been undergoing extensive renovation and refurbishing since 2018. In recent times we have been told emphatically, it is being rescoped and we are going to see a brand new hospital.“ As the minister says, we are constructing an entirely new building with new equipment ...’’ ( High-ranking official, Ministry of Health, TVJ News, March 7, 2023) “ You are not going to see any reminder of what Cornwall used to be. You are going to see a brand new Cornwall Regional Hospital ...’’ (Dr Tufton, Minister of Health, TVJ News)

What (guides) the rationale to label the renovation and rescoping of CRH as “constructing an entirely new building’’, I don’t know. But I think it is quite misleading, because this label could cause confusion among future generations. It may even eventually erase the legacy of Dr Herbert Eldemire, independent Jamaica’s first minister of health who served from 1962-1972.

When was the grand groundbreaking ceremony to construct this new building? Which date will we officially accept that the CRH was constructed, 1972 or 2025?