Montego Bay entrepreneur Claudette Bryan, known as much for her community outreach work as she is for her business acumen, is determined to ensure that Jamaicans have a rehabilitated Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and in the shortest possible time.
Bryan, president of the St James Lay Magistrates Association and board chair for the Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, is one of the recently named five-member independent oversight committee for the rehabilitation work at the hospital.
The committee, set up to ensure accountability and provide transparency to the Jamaican public for the ongoing rehabilitation work, is headed by noted academic Professor Archibald McDonald, principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona.
“For western Jamaica on the whole, CRH is dear to all of us. Most of us, our children were born there or we have relatives who have had to go there to use the services. We want to see that it is restored first class so that the people of the region and the nation can get the best healthcare,” said Bryan, proprietor for Bryan’s Jewellery and Leather Affair.
“None of us can function properly if we are sick, not even if it is just a headache. I want to see our people have an institution where their lives can be enhanced. Straight across the board, from education to health, our people must get the best,” she added.
In performing her duties as committee member, Bryan said she is all about transparency and accountability.
“When people ask me what is going on at CRH, I want to be able to tell them where we are at. We are accountable to the people,” said Bryan.
“I am not in it for myself, I am in it for the people,” added Bryan.
The oversight committee is mandated to review information from the Ministry of Health/
Programme Management Office on the progress of implementation of key project areas for the CRH.
The committee is also to review reports on the delivery of clinical services at the CRH covering the on-site and off-site locations to which services have been relocated, and provide recommendations to the minister of health on matters related to the execution of the project and advise on any concerns or developments.
It is also mandated monitor the compliance and progress of the project in relation to implementation of the key project areas, and ensure that any required strategic changes are undertaken in a timely manner so that the project achieves its goals; provide direction and assistance in resolving issues that may delay the timely execution of the project; and provide monthly updates on the project and the delivery of hospital services to the general public.
The other committee members are professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, deputy principal of the UWI; Errol Alberga, architect and senior partner at Alberga Graham Jamaica, who has done work on the Kingston Public Hospital; and Earl Richards, civil engineer, a past president of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers.
They are to be provided with administrative support from the Ministry of Health and will be paid travelling and subsistence, in accordance with the relevant government guidelines.
The health ministry will also cover the cost of hotel accommodation in Montego Bay to facilitate the visits approved by the chairman.
The opposition People’s National Party has called for a public enquiry to determine why the 400-bed hospital was not closed on the recommendation of experts more than one year ago when toxic fumes and moulds were first found in the facility.
But Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has rejected that call, instead going for the oversight committee.