by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – A two-person team from the US Southern Command visited Nevis on May 25 to assist the Nevis Island Administration in selecting a site and providing input on the proposed architectural plans for the construction of a multi-purpose lab on Nevis.
The announcement was made by Premier the Hon Mark Brantley during his monthly press conference on May 26.
The Premier indicated that the lab would be constructed using grant funding from the United States government.
“Note that the multipurpose lab has two broad elements/objectives; one, ensure items that are traded are scientifically safe, and two ensure that the food and water we consume in the Federation are safe. The lab that is proposed for Nevis will be concerned with ensuring that the food and water we consume in the Federation are safe. Specifically, it will address food, water and air quality, which fall under chemistry and microbiology. The lab in St. Kitts is already concerned with the first objective, which is to ensure that items are traded scientifically safe, so there’ll be a division of responsibilities once this lab is constructed.”
The Premier shared some specifics on what work the lab will be engaged in on Nevis.
“It will be involved in some of the following activities. Testing all packaged water and bottled water and be an occasional resource for Environmental Health and water departments samples on Nevis when required. Test dialysis machines between patients for both chemistry and microbiology, and this is going to be very useful when we deploy our dialysis centre here on Nevis. Provide indoor air quality service for mould, gases and particulate matter. Test food and beverages for allergens/toxins. And this one is very important; we will test fish and fish products for toxins such as ciguatera to improve the quality of intake for those consumers and ciguatera as I understand it is what causes fish poison. And so it will be very useful if our fisherfolk can now have a fish tested and our consumers will have more confidence in eating that fish.”
The Premier said the lab would help remove some of the mystery from the types of fish we can or cannot eat by scientifically telling the people of the Federation whether the fish being caught and sold are suitable for eating.
The lab is also expected to have an area dedicated to testing biologicals (pathology, virology, epidemiology) such as COVID-19 and provide the capability to store vaccines at low temperatures.
Brantley expressed gratitude to the United States Government for funding the construction of the multi-purpose lab and others from the Bureau of Standards and the multi-purpose lab on St. Kitts, the Nevis Disaster Management Department, in bringing about this opportunity.