PHILIPSBURG--The Council of Ministers is considering taking legal action against Austria-based general construction company Vamed.
Health Minister Emil Lee said the Council has agreed to request its legal advisors to explore the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the construction company to stop it from halting the development of the new general hospital. “Based on the urgent needs of the country to develop our healthcare system and build a much needed hospital that complies with international standards, legal advisors will advise Council of Ministers if there is a proper basis for legal actions against Vamed,” Lee said on Wednesday.
He said the case of Vamed is hampering the development of St. Maarten’s healthcare system. A new hospital has a direct and substantial impact on the cost and therefore the sustainability of St. Maarten’s healthcare system as well as an obvious impact on quality of care and therefore the health of the country’s population.
“Government should not allow our healthcare developments to be held hostage due to a court case by a foreign multinational for financial gain. The more we investigate the prices regionally the more convinced I am that the price of (construction company) INSO is not too low and that their price is competitive and reasonable,” Lee noted.
“The country, the people and staff of [St. Maarten Medical Center – Ed.] SMMC need and deserve a new hospital. I do recognise and appreciate that the staff, management and specialists have been and continue to operate in challenging conditions. All three of my children were born in SMMC. I am even a former chairman of the board of SMMC. I do have special affinity for SMMC and I want the staff of SMMC to know that you have my full commitment and relentless effort to see that a new hospital is built as soon as possible.”