On Wednesday, a resolution was passed in Parliament, to compulsory buy the Cancer Center Eastern Caribbean, after negotiations over the selling price reached a roadblock by the owner of the medical facility
Dr Conville Browne, the principal owner of the center wrote to the Government, advising them that he plans to shut the doors of the center because of financial instability
In Parliament on Wednesday Health Minister Molwyn Joseph Minister tabled the bill which passed the House by 9 votes to 5. In a surprising move, MP for St Peter Asot Michael joined the eight government MPs present in approving the measure.
But members of the opposition including the leader Jamal Pringle did not support the bill, arguing that the government, by making this move, could lead to individuals being fearful to invest in the country.
“We have to be careful because it is going to affect us in many ways because people are going to find it hard to invest in Antigua and Barbuda if the government can just take up their property,” he argued.
But Health Minister Joseph said however that the cancer center was a matter of public importance, and the forced purchase would be mainly to support cancer patients.
“I was visited by Breast Friends and others in fear of what would happen if the cancer center closed … we have no alternative. This was not an invitation to talk and to see what we can do … if we do not have the cancer center operating, people will die,” Joseph said
Adding, “We have held numerous discussions with Mr. Browne, and at one point, he wanted us to invest funds so that he could be repaid, I believe as much as US $6 million, that he claimed was due to him … which we have not been able to verify.
The price for the sale of the Cancer Center has dropped significantly after new evaluations found that the medical facility should be solved between $6 and USD 9 million, compared to the USD 15 million proposed by the owner
The Cabinet held discussions on the acquisition of the Cancer Center Wednesday and said that the new cost reflects the valuation undertaken by the government’s Valuation Officer
“While the owner was demanding USD 15 million; the valuation concluded that it is valued between $6 and $9 million EC Dollars. The land on which the Cancer Centre is built is the Crown’s”, according to Chief of Staff in the Prime Ministers’ Office Lionel Max Hurst said Thursday
The center opened on June 26, 2015, originally intended for use by cancer patients across the OECS.
Opposition getting it wrong as usual.