By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands said “unexpected discoveries” at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama have delayed the renovation process.
Dr Sands told reporters outside of Cabinet yesterday that along with storm damage, workers have found termites and rotten wood. He said officials have been discussing how to expedite the clean up and restoration process at the Grand Bahama hospital.
He said: “This is going to be a moving target and with each step of the way, I would have just sat down with the project lead Mr Terrance Cartwright yesterday and he and I would have discussed the things that have been uncovered in this process.
“We don’t know exactly what else we will find. What I can tell you is what we have found has changed the scope of work. The architects and designers are going back to the drawing board again and we will have to constantly make adjustments.”
When asked about the price tag of the renovations, Dr Sands said he anticipated the remediation of the Rand to be about $20m but noted that figure may change.
“... It probably won’t be with the same budget because again with a renovation you find stuff that you didn’t expect to find. Some of that has been donated. We have quotations coming in... we have portioned different areas of the Rand to different teams. So, the Rec Relief will be managing the administration area for instance, Carnival has been doing specific areas,” he said.
“St Bernard Parish has now come back to us and said they’d like to do a part of it. We have other offers on the table and then, of course, the Consolidated Fund or the government of The Bahamas will be the budget of last resort.”
Dr Sands said another issue the government faces is that patients housed in the Samaritan’s Purse tent hospital are cold during the night.
“Grand Bahama is not exactly warm at this time of year. One of the challenges we are having is the insulation for the tent which wasn’t a problem when it was hot. It’s a problem now and people are finding it quite chilly and this is without air conditioning. We are trying to solve the problem of the cold nights and making sure the patients are kept warm enough,” he explained.
In September, Dr Sands revealed the Rand would cost roughly $19 million to repair.
The hospital was severely damaged during Hurricane Dorian, which resulted in flooding of over 70 percent of the hospital.
Water levels rose to four to five feet in some areas, and concerns were raised by staff about safety at the facility due to the exposure of black water intrusion.
It not only served as the only public hospital on the island, it is also a teaching hospital that provides practical training for medical students, including doctors and nurses.
Samaritan’s Purse, an international NGO, set up a state-of-the-art field hospital on Grand Bahama shortly after Dorian’s passage.