Following three years of public criticism, the Government has finally exited the bond at Sussex Street, Albouystown, but not before racking up a bill of $314.6M.
Kaieteur News has learnt that the Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) vacated the bond last month.
The issue of the bond surfaced in 2016 when it was learnt that the $25M bond had been rented under very lucrative terms to businessman, Larry Singh, during the tenure of former Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton.
It was pointed out that at the cost of $25M, the Government could have built 12 bonds using the $325M it paid to Singh.
The controversy intensified when it was discovered late 2016 that the facility was merely storing items such as lubricants and condoms.
In June Lawrence said that the Ministry of Public Health paid $264.5M to Linden Holding Inc. for the rental of the building to between July 2016 and March 2018. That amount equates to $12.1M per month.
Further, Lawrence had explained that one of the main reasons for the continued rental of the bond was to store a CT – scanner valued at about US$90,000 ($1.8M). The scanner was a donation from RAD-AID International and the reason given for it being kept in storage was the delay in the completion of a room at the Bartica Hospital.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Health Collette Adams committed to speak with Kaieteur News on the bond rental on Monday, but by Wednesday had not done so despite a commitment from Lawrence that the information would be provided.
Lawrence had indicated that the Government would have stopped the rental of the bond in December, last, but that promise was not fulfilled until August.
A visit to the facility this year revealed that although there were added items by the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the manner of storage left much to be desired.
The Ministry had served a Notice of Quit dated October 2016 by then Permanent Secretary, Trevor Thomas. A reminder dated October 3, 2017 was sent by Adams who had taken over from Thomas.
Lawrence explained that the Government was hoping to take the money used for the rental of the bond and reinvest it in the public health sector. The Minister had disclosed plans to build more bonds and expand the ones the Ministry has.
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