HOUSING Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said Friday that the University of the West Indies (UWI) Teaching Hospital being established at the multi-storey building at Chancery Lane in San Fernando should be completed by May next year.
He said an elevated walkway from the San Fernando General Hospital building located next to the teaching hospital will be built "for walking and taking patients from the old hospital into the Chancery Lane hospital."
In answer to criticism by some that the hospital had taken the place of a planned administrative complex, Moonilal said the Government preferred to improve the health care service.
He said there were two areas in San Fernando--condemned Housing Development Corporation (HDC) buildings at Carlton Lane and a burnt-out HDC building in Pleasantville--that could be used instead.
Moonilal said he will be meeting with business people soon to discuss the matter.
He said the Government did not want to add to the city's clutter by having all its offices in one main area.
Moonilal said the millions of dollars borrowed by the Government since the People Partnership came into power in 2010 have been used to complete mega projects started by the PNM administration, including the building at Chancery Lane and the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) south campus.
He said Government also had to pay off contractors who claimed they were owed money before 2010, to fix roads and bridges and build police stations.
"The difference here I think is the money is spent on social infrastructure, national security assets, health assets," said Moonilal. "The money is not going to be spent on a lot of luxury items and hotels and academies for performing arts which may not be utilised by the mass of people.
"We could not see people lie down in the hospital in San Fernando and not do something about it.
The strength of the report in 2015 (general election year) to the people will be based on the performance of UDeCOTT."