On some future day we will know more than we do now, that is, eventually the story will be told, at least in part and maybe, just maybe we will understand.
As of now all we have are questions answered only by scant rumours or silence and the only thing we know with any certainty concerning the Mini-Hospital in Central Abaco is that we have no idea when it can or will open.
More than three years ago the former administration hastily broke ground on a new mini-hospital to serve the Central Abaco area, and by extension the surrounding communities. The $12 million 32000 square foot building which was to be built over a 60 week (A year and two months) period, was awarded to Coastline Construction.
The project was touted by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to highlight the “growing recognition of your (Abaco’s) importance,” within central government, and the health care facility will be the twenty second health center that the NIB has funded as part of its initiative of “delivering a greater investment to The Bahamian people.”
Shortly after ground breaking the Mr. Ingraham’s government lost at the polls and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) took the reins. A few months passed the original completion date we were told that the hospital was 80 percent complete, that they had encountered “foreseeable delays” and that a few changes were expected to have to be made by the time hospital equipment arrived.
Almost a year later, and two years into the project the project was said to be “basically complete” as the majority of interior work had been completed, aside from potential adjustments for medical equipment that had not been ordered, Coastline was working on completing the parking lot pavement.
In February of 2015, now almost three years into the project, North Abaco Minister of Parliament, Renardo Curry said that “Technical issues” have delayed the completion and opening of the hospital, however, they expected the issues resolved shortly and would soon begin the hiring process “within the next few months.”
Sources at the time also indicate that the contractor had not been paid since February 2014, but despite the lack of payment, Coastline worked on the hospital until early July.
With Coastline not receiving payments, sub-contractors of the project also received no payments for their work and so production came to a veritable halt. Sources revealed that some payments were doled out to complete bits of work; however, by all accounts the project is stalled and many wonder not just when but if the hospital will ever be completed.
Throughout the construction of this mini-hospital fraught with delays there has been little to no comments from the government or NIB officials and over three years in to this two years overdue project we are left with more questions than answers.
How much work is truly left to be done to bring this to completion? When will the Hospital equipment be ordered or arrive? Has the hiring for staff begun yet? When will we have doctors stationed at the new clinic?
Yet still there are many residents who feel there will be no opening until just month before the next election, and others believe that it will be the campaign promise that it will be opened “if you re-elect us.” Some even believe it will never open.
Those who are hoping for the best anxiously await the good news that it will open soon; the skeptics have lost hope that anyone cares to open it.
But for today, we simply don’t know! As of now, we have not been given any news from ‘the powers that be’ of when, if at all, the much needed mini-hospital will open its doors to serve the residents of Abaco.