The government has given the assurance that the country’s Cancer Treatment Center will remain open despite claims by the main investor that he will be pulling out at the end of April.
Sir Molwyn Joseph, the country’s health minister told Parliament on Monday that the government has devised a plan to address the situation and the center will not shut its doors or abandoned the patients.
“There has been some unnecessary alarm injected in the community as if to say that the government has abandoned the patients. I want to make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that is false and it is malicious,” he added.
The minister had read a letter dated March 20th which gives notice of the suspension of clinical operations of the center as of April 30th this year.
Joseph confirmed that the investor indicated that he was not able to find a strategic partner to ensure the sustainability of the center.
“When the business model was developed, it was anticipated that the cancer center would be able to get business from the other OECS countries and other countries. That is why it’s called the Eastern Caribbean Cancer Center. What transpired is that the other countries did not support the cancer center and when they did, it was just marginal. Not enough,” he added.
He said, however, the Opposition United Progressive Party continues to “sow seeds of alarm” in the public.
“There were six patients, Mr. Speaker, who are already directed to go to the Bahamas for treatment. And it’s probably going to the same owner, who owned a cancer center in the Bahamas”
“I will assure the people of Antigua and Barbuda the day will never come when this government will allow the cancer center to be closed”
He said the government spent $30 million so far on sending people all over the world to get treatment.
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