Former Prime Minister welcomes investigation into finances new hospital
WILLEMSTAD – The new hospital is a hot topic these days in the political arena. In recent weeks parliament has debated on the higher costs of construction and the main question remains how come this project has exceeded its budget by about 200 million guilders.
This higher costs of the project were mainly attributed to the relocation of the construction from the former Amstel site to Otrabanda. This decision was made during the government of former Prime Minister Ivar Asjes. Asjes, at that time member of the Pueblo Soberano party, shows how that decision-making in 2013 came into being.
Asjes says that he is therefore not ‘afraid’ for further investigation. “I was Prime Minister from June 7, 2013 to August 31, 2015. I welcome any investigation that is done into the HNO process,”Asjes states.
“After fifty years of discussing a new hospital, it was my cabinet that ultimately made the decision. We not only talked but also made important decisions and released the funds to realize the construction.”
There is a letter from December 2013 to the then Minister of Finance showing that a motion was adopted in April 2013 in parliament in which the preference is expressed for the Otrobanda location. On September 20, 2013 this motion was confirmed in the Council of Ministers (RvM) and on the same day, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the government, the Sint Elisabeth Hospital (Sehos) and the financial institution Sona.
In the letter, the Finance Minister is asked to agree with the purchase of the Colon Shopping Center and the plans for the groundbreaking on December 19, 2013. The Minister is also requested to pay the advance payment to the contractor and to Sona.
In another letter to the then Minister of Finance, José Jardim, of December 10, 2013, the government writes about the surcharges of 13.9 million guilders calculated by Sona for the move to downtown Otrabanda. However, this amount would still fall within the investment amount of 400 million.
According to Sona, the location change would have a ‘marginal effect’ on the budget and could also be compensated with an efficiency cut. The Government Accountants Bureau (Soab) also shared the Sona’s opinion on this matter.
Asjes says that he has a clear conscience and that is why he welcomes any investigation.