GB Minister Says Much Has Been Done by Newly-Established Ministry

It was considered to be “Report Card Day” for the Minister of Grand Bahama, and Dr. Michael Darville is hoping that his Ministry receives an “A” for its performance since its establishment almost five years ago.

On Friday, March 31, 2017, Dr. Darville, along with Island Commissioners and Department Heads in the various government ministries, along with members of the media took a tour of projects launched and carried out by the Ministry for Grand Bahama within the Eastern part of Grand Bahama.

The tour began at the Harold DeGregory Building, where the Ministry constructed the Office Storage facility. The team then moved to the newly renovated Fruit and Vegetable Market, which, though has been greatly improved, is expected to have even more improvements carried out over the next few weeks.

Local government Department Heads were given a firsthand view of the work being carried out near the Rand Memorial Hospital. The work, which is being carried out on the grounds of the former Freeport Inn Hotel, includes the construction of a new hospital cafeteria, along with office spaces.

“The cafeteria that is presently in the Rand Memorial Hospital will be removed and converted into additional bed space,” Minister Darville explained at the site where workers were busy at work. “We will tear down the front section of the hospital and make it more user friendly. It is all a part of our Master Planners, who made that recommendation.

“With plans in the works to construct a new 62,000-square-foot clinic, this existing Rand Memorial Hospital will become a secondary facility, which will be used basically for geriatric care as part of the government’s plan for National Health Insurance.”

The contract for works being carried out at the Rand totals some $5.2 million.

The new Freeport Community Clinic will sit on some 50 acres of land, which was donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Civil works on the project is presently underway.

“One of the unique features of this project is that it is located near a power sub-station,” noted Minister Darville. “This particular sub-station has what is called dual entry of supply. So if something goes wrong to one entry, there will be a second feeder coming in, and we all know that constant supply of electricity is very important for the life-blood of any hospital or medical facility.”

The Minister noted that the new Community Clinic is estimated to cost the government some $28 million, although he noted that additional civil works is expected to add to that cost.

“In the future, this will be our medical park, where you would have multiple medical facilities located,” added Dr. Darville. “The first phase of this project is the 62,000-square-foot Freeport Community Centre that will join the 150-bed hospital, which will be a part of the new paradigm necessary for Tertiary Health Care.”

The tour moved on to the newly-built fire station, located on Settler’s Way. The $6.2 million contract was awarded to Patrick McDonald and the state-of-the-art facility is expected to be officially opened within two weeks or so, according to Minister Darville.

Before taking the tour all the way out east, Minister Darville led the group to Smith’s Point, where massive works are being carried out in the construction of a sea wall. Minister Darville admitted that the sea wall construction turned out to be more complicated than they had first imagined.

It wasn’t until workers realized how deep they had to trench in order to attach the steel to the bedrock that they concluded that the project would be much more difficult.

“So the project ballooned from $2.2 million to $4.2 million and there are still some contingencies because of the effects of Hurricane Matthew,” said Dr. Darville. “But this project is essential in order to help stop the erosion of the shoreline in Smith’s Point.”

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