KHMH built broken by the PUP Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

There is a lot of talk about our major referral hospital the KHMH. Apparently there is a problem with sections of the facility’s roof that was made public about two weeks ago. According to what we’ve been told, debris fell from the ceiling and that forced the KHMH’S management to do some assessments following which some temporary remedial repairs were done to try to reinforce the roof from inside the facility by installing some temporary columns. The KHMH Authority also made the decision to close off certain sections of the facility. The closure of those sections have led to the cut back of some services that the KHMH provides. However, plans are underway to augment some of those services by conducting them elsewhere, places like the various health centers, district hospitals and at the private hospitals.

The problem with the roof goes back to the construction of the hospital. Back in 1989/1990 the then PUP government came up with the idea that they would build a new hospital to replace the ageing Belize City Hospital. Like all projects associated with the PUP, the PUP insiders saw this as an opportunity to hustle. The plans were made and the sight was chosen. Then finally the design was done and the contract was awarded. The contractor chosen was a Spanish Consortium, Comylsa Tecsa and Consultiberca. Ground was broken around 1992 and construction started a short time after. Those notable PUP’S such as Lucas Concas, Lopez, Berbey and Pollack were all given subcontracts. These subcontracts were for various things, everything from clearing of the site, to driving piles, to providing sand, stone and other aggregates. These subcontractors also became the ones who actually were doing the construction. We all know the type of finished product these subcontractors are known for, so now that we are in this predicament it is no surprise.

We were reliably informed by one trucker that rather than ferry sand all the way from a source that had been identified as having the quality product required, the persons selling the sand would mix the sand from Orange Walk with the much cheaper and more readily available sea sand. The salt content in the sea sand was very high and has now caused the steel to corrode. This corrosion has caused massive implosion within the concrete installations. Coupled with that is the fact that the roof leaks and has always leaked from the time of construction. When the then PUP government signed off on the hospital after the retention period was up, they knew of those problems, but still they signed off. The roof was so bad that it had to be replaced. Back in December 2003, this was what the then CEO said in an interview he gave to Channel 5 about the KHMH, “Shortly after I took management, we developed a strategic plan, which included the gradual maintenance and uplifting of the entire institution. The Ministry of Health has been very, very helpful; they replaced the roof, which was leaking, through a special project that was on, they have repaired the equipment, and the board itself has replaced quite a bit of medical equipment in the hospital. We have repaired the interior parts of it; when we came the plumbing was bad, the ceiling was falling in, the tiles were lifting up and that sort of thing. We are now about finished, and if you note, the walls have just recently been painted inside, and we’re finished with the inside of the hospital, and we now want to go to the exterior parts of it.”

What we suspect is that things got even worse since then, because once again in another interview, that time it was in August 2007,CEO Alvaro Rosado gave another negative review of the KHMH’s structural integrity. This was what he said on that occasion. The event caused him to give an interview to Channel 7’s Keith Swift,

“The decision to evacuate Belize City was based on the fact that an engineer had given us the information that he was not guarantee that this building could take a category one hurricane.”

For any member of the PUP who were then members of the PUP administrations between 1998 and 2008 to now claim that they did not know about the problems at that hospital is plain hypocrisy. They all knew because cabinet was made aware of the situation, because it was the government who provided the money to do the repairs. They were also the ones who signed off on the finished product and it was their people who were hustling off the project. Perhaps that was why he had to sign off on the project even with all the flaws. As is usually the case, it’s the UDP who will remedy this situation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2018 15:39