Cancer Centre investor retains receiver and will file bankruptcy proceedings; Tabor warns Gov’t not to drop ball on this issue

The Eastern Caribbean Cancer Centre, which was closed at the end of April by its major shareholder, has gone into receivership.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has confirmed that the investor, who holds 80 percent of the shares in the treatment facility, has appointed a receiver.  According to reports, the accounting firm of PKF – Pannell Kerr Foster – now has oversight of the Centre’s affairs.

Accordingly, Browne says, all future dealings with the Centre will take place through that intermediary.

Reports say the investor’s selling price is US$15 million (or EC$40 million).  However, the Cabinet is offering to purchase it at the price submitted by the Government’s officer, who has evaluated the facility at EC $6 million to $9 million.

Meanwhile, the Browne Administration has already passed legislation to acquire the Cancer Centre by eminent domain. If its offer is rejected by the Receiver, then the Government will exercise the eminent-domain option, forcing the court to make a determination on the reasonable value.

In another move, the shareholder has notified the Government that he is moving forward with his intention to file bankruptcy proceedings.

Based on the opposing views regarding the valuation of the Centre, it appears that a fight is ahead.  Hence, Damani Tabor, public relations officer for the United Progressive Party (UPP), says this development is something to monitor very closely. 

He agrees that the continued operation of the Centre is a critical matter, a life-or-death situation.  Therefore, he is hoping that sensible bids are entertained.

Tabor is hoping, as well, that competent operators will be engaged to manage the Cancer Centre.  Because, given the manner in which the healthcare system is being mismanaged under Sir Molwyn Joseph, the Government might not find itself in good-enough standing, he says.

Having the Centre fully operational is a quality-of life-issue for those needing oncology services, and the right thing should be done, Tabor says, as he warns the Administration not to drop the ball on this issue.