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Refurbishing work on the Noel Holmes Hospital courtyard to proceed

Published:Saturday | February 11, 2023 | 12:17 AMBryan Miller/ Hanover Correspondent
The Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover.
The Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover.

Western Bureau

The way is now clear for a collaborative effort between the Noel Holmes Hospital administration and the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) to refurbish the courtyard at the Lucea-based facility.

The renovations are set to take place in a matter of months with a motion moved at the HMC’s February monthly general meeting, carried by a vote of four for and three against to implement the project.

Mayor of Lucea and chairman of the HMC, Sheridan Samuels, said the hospital’s administration had initially approached the HMC for assistance.

“Senior members of the Noel Holmes Hospital staff met with us and ... outlined to us that the hospital’s courtyard is in a terrible state, and they would like us to partner with them to repair it,” Samuels said.

“They pointed out that in case of an emergency and they would have to move the staff and patients at the facility, the condition of the courtyard was not conducive to fast and safe movement. Also when cases arrive in the ambulances, the roughness of the courtyard causes a lot of dangerous and unnecessary shaking up,” he pointed out.

He said the plan is for the HMC to play the lead role and assemble a working committee to seek funds and implement the project.

“You might ask why we should take on this project, but remember that the local board of health is part of the responsibility of the Municipal Corporation, and it is our duty to ensure that the healthcare in the parish is being looked after,” Samuels said.Deputy mayor in the HMC and councillor for the Sandy Bay division, Andria Dehaney-Grant, who said she was asked to co-chair the committee, said the selection process is far advanced.

“We will be meeting before the end of this month as a committee to see how best we can get some other stakeholders involved. The hotels and other business places in the parish use that hospital, and so we are going to be approaching them to see how best they can assist us in getting that funding that we need to fix that hospital grounds,” she said.

She noted that approximately 10 people have already been approached to date to serve on the committee, which will be co-chaired by a representative of the Noel Holmes Hospital. Mayor Samuels said the proposal for fixing the hospital courtyard had been presented to the other six HMC councillors for their support as a group.

But, while it was supported by the four People’s National Party (PNP) councillors, leader of the minority group in the HMC, councillor Devon Brown, of the Hopewell division, voiced his disapproval of the initiative.

“While I support the partnership with the hospital, I think this initiative should be led by the hospital, and we should not be the ones spearheading it. We, as the technical team should just be prepared to give a contribution towards the project,” Brown argued.

He said the project should be under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Wellness to garner the necessary funds and whatever else is needed.

When the matter was put to the vote through a motion moved and seconded, the three Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors in the HMC gave no indication of their support for, abstention or vote against the motion, while the four PNP councillors voted for the motion. The motion for the HMC to play the lead role in implementing the project was therefore carried.