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Nevis Premier clears air on discrepancies in the costs associated with the Alexandra Hospital Expansion Project

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The current expenditure exhausted by the Nevis Island Administration for the Alexandra Hospital’s expansion project has been corrected to $17 million by the Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley.

“The full breakdown of all associated costs has now been done, and the total expenditure to date is $17,210,820.74… and so that is the number that we have been able now to come to, having seen the mistakes that had been made and corrected the data and reconstructed the expense schedules based on the information available to us. I would want, of course, to thank the technical team for getting this right. I would also want to urge them that they ensure that information supplied to the public is at all times accurate.”

Brantley made that correction during his monthly press conference on March 29, 2023.

The Premier describes the capital project as the largest single expenditure in health care infrastructure in Nevis.

Previously, there were some discrepancies in the numbers presented by junior health ministers on the monies already spent on the expansion project. People on Nevis questioned the different figures given and asked for clarification on the actual expenditure for the expansion.

“During the 2023 budgetary presentation on February 21, the Hon. Jahnel Nisbett, our Minister of Health, indicated to the House and to the public that the total expenditure of the Alexandra Hospital expansion project to date was $8,342,443.76. That figure was based on information supplied to her by the technical team in the Ministry of Health. Subsequent to her presentation, however, it became apparent that those numbers were inaccurate. And I apologised in my wrap-up in the budget and gave a commitment that we would have accurate figures brought to the fore. In fact, our former Minister of Health, the Hon. Hazel Brandy Williams, had in 2021, for purposes of the 2022 budget, indicated to the House and to the public that the expenditure to date on that project was $14.218 million.”

According to the Premier, the lateness in reporting on the discrepancy resulted from the ransomware breach the Nevis Island Administration experienced in late January 2023.

“It was noted … that the figures given to the Hon. Jahnel Nisbett, for purposes of the February 21, 2023, presentation, appear to only represent funds paid to local contractors and did not include pre-construction expenses, consultations, etc. Efforts were made to retrieve the additional information. However, the data was deemed inaccessible due to the ransomware attack on the Nevis Island administration, which had taken place a few weeks earlier. The technical team, therefore, had to reconstruct the database on manual receipts dating back to 2016, when the preliminary work and the research started for this project. The task I’m advised was extremely technical and time-consuming, and thus the process has only now been completed.”

Outside of the expansion, the Premier also shared that other investments to the hospital’s infrastructure are needed relating to necessary fixtures and equipment. The NIA is now putting in the orders for them.

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