Council votes in favour of medical centre for elderly and handicapped

MARIGOT–A motion to construct a 27-million-euro multipurpose medical centre catering to the elderly and handicapped was passed with a unanimous vote in favour during one of the main agenda points in Thursday’s Territorial Council meeting.

Vice-President Ramona Connor, who is also in charge of Social Affairs, made a presentation of the proposed complex’s different departments.

The project calls for a senior citizens home of 72 beds, 40 of which will be for permanent accommodation, 20 reserved in a specific sector for Alzheimer’s patients, six for temporary accommodation and six for day-care purposes.

An Institut Médico-Éducatif (IME) will offer 44 places of which 10 will be reserved for children and adolescents with mental deficiencies and 12 for autistic children on a day-care basis.

A Handicap Center will be divided into two sections: a specialised unit of 20 places for persons with severe mental or physical handicaps requiring around-the-clock monitoring and a section of 20 places for handicapped adults who cannot exercise a professional activity, but can do other activities on their own.

Etablissement et Service d’Aide pour le Travail (ESAT) proposes 15 places at half-board (demi-pension) for persons having difficulty in integrating professionally at an adapted place of business.

Centre d’Action Médico-Social Précoce (CAMPS) offers 15 places half-board for children and adolescents who are retarded, present sensory difficulties and have difficulty in relationships.

Finally, Service d’Education Spécialisée et d’Accompagnement à Domicile (SESSAD) will follow the education of 35-40 children in its care.

Land to construct this complex has been earmarked in La Savane already and measured at 30,215 square metres. Construction will take place in two phases. However, as required by law the Collectivité first will have to abide by archaeological digs to unearth any valuable artefacts before any construction can begin.

Financing will be sought from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, and Rights of Women; the Overseas Ministry; and from European structural funds.

In earlier agenda points, a deliberation to move the date for the abolition of slavery celebration in St. Martin from May 27 to May 28 was approved. Territorial Archives Director Stéphanie Dargaud gave a short presentation showing historical documents proving that the proclamation of the abolition of slavery in St. Martin had been made on Sunday May 28, 1848.

The new Cité Scolaire, now named “Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum,” requires that elected officials be on the administration boards of the Lycée and Collège, four on each board.

Alain Gros-Desormeaux, Rollande Questel, Dominique Aubert and Josiane Carty will be on the Collège board, and Rosette Gumbs-Lake, Jean-David Richardson, Ramona Connor and Maud Ascent-Gibs on the Lycée board. There were no objections from the floor.

In the opening statements, independent Councillor Jules Charville asked the President whether it would not be wiser to have a Territorial Council meeting every month, noting it had been four months since the last one, instead of cramming many agenda points into one day-long session.

He also requested that point eight on the agenda, launching of the bid for the waterfront project and other related matters, be deleted.

“We are about to launch a procedure affecting the next 18 months. However, the duration of your term in office is only 16 months,” said Charville. “Moreover it seems to me it is the responsibility of the Collectivité to carry out the impact studies related to the dredging of millions of cubic metres of sand, the risk to our beaches, our environment and the long-term consequences. You plan to assign a major project to an investor without even worrying about the risks to the people in Sandy Ground, for example.”

President Aline Hanson took offence at the remarks.

“I didn’t know you were God to know that I will not be here in 2017,” she retorted. “I assume my responsibilities for this country and I intend to continue. Do you honestly think I intend to drown the people in Sandy Ground?”

Source: The Daily Herald Council votes in favour of medical centre for elderly and handicapped