KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 14, IWN – The National Insurance Services (NIS) has a vested interest in the completion of the modern medical complex at Georgetown, for which it lent the Government EC$10 million.
“The NIS has an interest in this matter from the standpoint that when that hospital is established in Georgetown, it adds to the plan to make it a better financial option to put on the table a national health insurance programme financed through the NIS itself, as happened in some other countries. And that is a matter which is still under inquiry,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament.
He said that the $10 million, 10-year loan conforms to the NIS investment policy and attracts required 6.5 per cent interest.
It will be repaid in 40 payments at quarterly interval, he said in response to a question submitted by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.
Gonsalves said that while the Opposition questions NIS loans to the Government, the social security agency has invested in government initiatives in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, and St. Lucia.
“But as soon as you invest some money from the NIS in a government project of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is as though you have committed a mortal sin,” he told Parliament.
The health facility is being built to cater for 40,000 persons between Biabou and Fancy.
“I know the Opposition don’t like the project. They have said so publicly. And everything the government try to build, they oppose,” he said.
“But 40, 000 persons are going to benefit from the modern medical complex, from the diagnostic services, form the surgical and other services in Georgetown. … And when the cross-country road is done, there will be persons coming over from North Leeward.”
Gonsalves further said that when completed, the centre, which is being built with assistance from Cuba, will take a lot of pressure off the nation’s main hospital.
“And it is the only place where we are going to have state operated, top of the line chemo dialysis treatment,” he said, adding the treatment will cost US$20,000 per patient per year.