PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Consumer Coalition wants authorities to pursue a “better” financing package for the new St. Maarten General Hospital.
“For us as Consumer Coalition to curb the health care costs we still want a better financing agreement for the new hospital construction,” the Coalition said on Thursday. “Alternative financing must be sought. Just as Minister (of Health Emil) Lee went to Italy to look for financing guarantee from the government of Italy to back up the Inso commitments and just as Minister of Finance (Perry Geerlings) and the Prime Minister (Leona Romeo-Marlin) went to Holland to look for a financing guarantee for the Airport, these three ministers can also go to Holland to formally arrange the new hospital financing at more favourable terms. Of course, there might be some conditions attached to the Dutch financing, but if that guarantees us the hospital facility at a more affordable cost, why not make this trip and negotiate Dutch funding for this construction project?”
The Coalition said a grant or a soft loan to finance the new hospital project, which will save the country the 6 per cent interest payment on the NAf. 135 million loan can help curb the health care costs in the country. “…In Parliament Minister Lee informed the Parliamentarians that if the Dutch government want, they can come with their financing and the approached financiers will make room for that possibility. We have requested from the government to provide us with information and documentation of their requests to the Dutch government for financing of the hospital of the NAf. 135 million as a grant or as soft loan as was provided to the new hospital in Curaçao, but this information has not been provided yet.”
The Coalition said a new hospital building facility is needed, but there are some reservations about the issues surrounding the contractor. “That we want to stick to a contractor that won a bid is understandable. But that there are concerns if the contractor can guarantee the build and maintenance contract conditions is still to be seen. That this is the concern of all financiers approached for the construction project is also understandable and laudable.”
St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) General Director Kees Klarenbeek had said during a recent parliament meeting that SMMC was willing to continue the construction of the new hospital with Italy-based general contractor Inso under very strict conditions.