Premier clarifies expenditure for NIA’s Alexandra Hospital expansion project
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 31, 2023)- Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley has clarified the total expenditure to date related to the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Alexandra Hospital expansion project, against the backdrop of contrasting figures previously released.
The Premier made a statement on the issue during his March 28 press conference, explaining what led to the discrepancy between the figure given by former Health Minister, Hazel Brandy Williams in her December 2021 Budget presentation and that presented by Hon. Jahnel Nisbett, Minister of Health, during the February 2023 Budget debate. Mrs. Brandy Williams had stated the total cost as $14.218 million and Hon. Nisbett subsequently gave a total cost of $8,342,443.
“These discrepancies were brought to our attention and we asked the technical team to review the figures that had been provided. It was noted that the figures given to the Honourable Jahnel Nisbett for purposes of her February 21, 2023 presentation, appeared to only represent funds paid to local contractors and did not include pre-construction expenses, consultations, etcetera. Efforts were made to retrieve the additional information, however, the data was deemed inaccessible due to the ransomware attack on the Nevis Island Administration which had taken place a few weeks earlier,” Premier Brantley said, explaining that the technical team had to undertake a time-consuming reconstruction of the database from manual receipts dating back to 2016 when the preliminary work and research started for the project.
“The full breakdown of all associated costs has now been done and the total expenditure to date is $17,210,820.74. That is the number that we have been able now to come to having seen the mistakes that had been made,” he explained.
The Premier said it was understandable why the discrepancy had caused some public concern and apologized once again for the inaccuracies. He thanked the technical team for getting the matter sorted, however urged them to ensure that the information supplied to the public is at all times accurate. Mr. Brantley further stated that the members of his administration pride themselves on being open and accurate.
“As the Premier of Nevis ultimately the buck stops with me, and so I take full responsibility for the inaccurate information that had been hitherto provided and I’ve sought to provide an explanation as to why it was inaccurate and to now give you the information as it has been furnished to Minister Nisbett and passed on to me by her.”
This project is the largest single expenditure in terms of healthcare infrastructure in the history of this government. Premier Brantley informed that physical construction is expected to resume in short order as they resolve some quantity surveying issues associated with the development.
He advised that the government is now in the process of placing orders for some critical equipment for that hospital, including items such as elevators, that have to be manufactured to specifications and then shipped.