On Thursday August 26th, 2010 at 1:30pm I attended a meeting at the San Pedro Polyclinic II. Also present were Ms Melinda Guerra, Regional Manager of the Ministry of Health, Mr Omar Mitchell, Engineer, Mr Baldemar Graniel representing the Lions Club, Dr. Javier Zuniga and Dr. Otto Rodriguez. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a report that was submitted by Mr. Mitchell regarding the integrity of the roof of the poly clinic structure.
In a nutshell, the roof structure is leaking and must be cleaned, repaired and sealed soon in order to prevent further damage. Water damage is not the only threat, if the leaks continue there will be risk of dangerous mould growth which could cause the Poly Clinic to be closed down. The cost of the repairs, which will be a permanent solution (not a stop gap measure) is approximately $40,000.00 BZ. This figure includes the cost of materials including importation costs and stamp duties, labour, oversight by a qualified and experienced engineer and includes a buffer for unexpected costs. The job will take 2 weeks.
The figure does not include the cost to ferry the engineer back and forth from the city to the island via plane (due to his other commitments and time constraints), nor does it include the cost of accommodation for the nights that the engineer may be required to spend on the island.
The materials will be purchased at Benny’s home centre and the engineer will apply his 19% discount to assist with material costs. The engineer’s overseeing fee will be $4,000.00. The Ministry of Health via the NHI is able to pledge $8,000.00. Time is of the essence as the roof damage is exposed to the elements. The Poly Clinic desperately requires these repairs but the Health Department can only commit $8,000 to the project which means that the community of San Pedro must raise the additional $32,000.00
An appeal is being made to the San Pedro Business Association members, the San Pedro Town Council and the Belize Tourist Board. Ms Guerra shall be looking into the possibility of tax exemptions for the goods that will be imported.
The next meeting to assess the feasibility of this plan will be September 9th 2010. Ideally we would like to begin repairs in October as soon as we have raised pledges to cover the costs. Some of the specialized materials must be imported from Canada which takes approximately 3 weeks. As an aside, the engineer’s inspection has revealed that the concrete structure, columns and beams are unable to withstand any additional weight which means that the poly clinic structure will not be expanded upon in the future.
In good news, the Area Representative Minister Manuel Junior Heredia has confirmed that the San Pedro Poly Clinic will be receiving 2 additional nurses in September, 2010 which will mean that the clinic can extend its hours and operate 12 hours per day in the future.