Administration contemplates acquisition of Cancer Centre – at Government’s own price or by compulsory acquisition

As the public healthcare system continues its downward spiral, the Gaston Browne Administration says it is contemplating the acquisition of the Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean Ltd.

During Thursday afternoon’s sitting of the Lower House of Parliament, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph – supported by Prime Minister Gaston Browne – moved a Motion to compulsorily acquire the facility, accusing the majority owner of taking a high-handed approach to the sale at his price.

The owner closed the centre at the end of April, citing the financial strain of carrying the facility.

According to Cabinet reports, the Executive held discussions on the acquisition of the treatment centre at a price that reflects the value as determined by the Government’s own officer. 

While the owner reportedly has set a price of US$15 million, the valuation officer reportedly concluded that the facility is worth between EC$6 and $9 million.

It was noted that only the building is owned by the investor, since the land on which the Cancer Centre is built is the Crown’s.

Reports say the Centre has incurred liabilities of EC$6.9 million, and should the Government acquire it, there would be a need for both personnel and additional equipment.

The Cabinet claims that nurses with the required expertise are available, and there are already two doctors who are able and ready to begin working at the Centre.

However, all the equipment reportedly has depreciated and will have to be separately assessed, the reports say.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Health were made aware of the closure of the facility – the brainchild of former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer – a year ago.