Minister Lee clarifies plan for new hospital

PHILIPSBURG–Responding to concerns about several misconceptions regarding the development of a new hospital, Minister of Public Health Emil Lee provided clarity in the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.

  He reiterated that the tripartite had worked together with Royal Haskoning DHV, one of the largest and most experienced hospital engineers in the Netherlands, to determine what companies would be able to qualify.

  All the candidates, including INSO, had to provide financial statements during the pre-qualification to ensure they are financially stable, references for previous projects, and company profiles. Those reference projects for hospitals were checked extensively by the evaluation committee supported by Royal Haskoning DHV.

  The five candidates, including INSO, that were selected for the bid all passed the due-diligence phase and scored the highest points. INSO is a large international construction company and has proven experience in building large and smaller hospitals all over the world and in the Caribbean region.

  Many persons are also referencing the hospital in St. Lucia that was built by INSO, which is now not operational. Lee contacted the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, who happens to be a close friend and colleague from the tourism sector, to inquire about that specific project.

  The issue is not that the project was not properly executed. The problem lies in the fact that the medical equipment that was placed in the building was of a high specification and the staff needs training to be able to operate it. St. Maarten will not experience this challenge, as the equipment will be purchased with consensus from St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).


  Minister Lee explained that the price difference was based on the way the terms of reference were set up. In the terms of reference bidders were given the opportunity to develop their proposals based on functional requirements; more specifically, the hospital’s needs. All tenders received the same package of information, including a complete list of the functional requirements for the new hospital.

  Based on these functional requirements, bidders had to come up with their concepts/designs. Some designed a functional hospital as requested and others a more luxurious “resort” type of hospital which translated into a “luxurious” price.

  “Before beginning the public tendering process a very detailed budget for the new hospital was created by Royal Haskoning DHV. This allowed the tripartite to know what we could afford and what exactly the cost should be for the needs for the hospital. Based on our detailed price/functional check, including the in-depth analysis of our internal budget, INSO’s price fits the estimated range,” stated Minister Lee.

  According to the Fidic Gold Book, which provides detailed arrangements to keep the contractor accountable for the works provided, there is a performance security of 10 per cent of the contract value covered by a bank guarantee.

  In addition, there is a parent-company guarantee to make sure the Ministry is not dealing with a “shell” company that can easily be dissolved if the project goes wrong. There is an advance payment guarantee, as well as arrangements for delay damages with steep penalties.

Delivering the project

  INSO will be responsible for maintenance for the next 10 years with the possibility to extend for another 10 years. All shortcomings, if any, have to be repaired within the fixed budget for which INSO tendered. This provides an incentive for INSO to not take shortcuts in the construction of the building as it will be responsible for all repairs. If the repairs exceed the lump sum in INSO’s contract it must cover the cost of the repairs.

  In addition, the tripartite has appointed Royal Haskoning DHV as cost and quality consultant. It will be supported by the local engineering company ICE which will be responsible for assessing the project construction.

  The tripartite also will have its own technical supervisor on the ground who, together with the project manager, will execute a detailed quality programme under supervision of the tripartite.

  Minister Lee continued, “There is no other way I could have thought of to make the process more open and transparent. Through this approach Government was able to save money and ensure that the process yielded the most efficient product for the health care needs of our people.”

Source: Daily Herald
Minister Lee clarifies plan for new hospital