September 18, 2020

Hospital plan replaces seaport

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Proposed East End Seaport.

In a double-barreled announcement yesterday, Dr Devi Shetty said his Narayana Cayman Medical University would be built on East End land owned by developer Joe Imparato, who has abandoned his proposed East End Seaport project.

The announcement came Tuesday afternoon in a two-page press release from Shetty public relations adviser, local magazine publisher David Legge.

“The Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre (NCUMC), along with supporting infrastructure, will be built on land in East End, the site that was to be the home of the East End Seaport,” the release said.

“Mr. Gene Thompson, local director of the Narayana group, and Mr. Joseph A. Imparato, owner of the approximately 600-acre site known as ‘High Rock’, said an agreement had been reached that will benefit all parties and provide an ideal location for the medical complex, known informally as Dr. Devi Shetty’s healthcare city,” according to the release.

In April, Dr Shetty promised a mid-summer announcement of land acquisition somewhere in the eastern districts on which he would build his $2 billion hospital and university complex, comprising a 2,000 bed hospital, assisted-living accommodations, research facilities, a medical college and a hotel. When completed, the medical-tourism park, specialising in cardiac and pediatric care, will boast at least 10 buildings, catering to 1,400 patients daily.

Initial groundbreaking for a first-phase 140-bed hospital is scheduled for late autumn, with completion in March 2013.

Yesterday’s release referred to job creation and other economic opportunities.

“The site will be designed and implemented to benefit, in every way possible, the Caymanian people,” the release said, quoting Mr Thompson. “In all instances, Caymanians will be given preferential opportunities during the construction phase and also in educational, training and career opportunities as the project moves forward.”

The document not only resolved outstanding questions about the complex’s location, but also addressed Mr Imparato’s giant East End Seaport project, a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar container, cruise and transshipment port.

The seaport had come under heavy environmental, political and community criticism after local residents and politicians voiced fears about the degradation of the eastern part of the island.

“If The East End Seaport is cancelled, I am happy about that, and will go home and light a $75 cigar,” said North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, a longtime campaigner against the project.

Hon. Mark Scotland, Dr Devi Shetty and Premier McKeeva Bush.

“I am not entirely happy to hear that the Shetty hospital will go there, because it’s the same problem as with the new Cayman Economic Zone: It gives one person exclusivity,” he said referring to a recent government agreement for a series of private industrial developments on designated land.

However, Mr Miller went on, “I will offer my support to Dr Shetty. That is absolutely a preferred use of the land there instead of a seaport.”

Despite repeated attempts, neither East End MLA Arden McLean, nor Mr Imparato, nor his Atwater Consulting public relations advisers could be reached for comment by press time, although yesterday’s announcement said Mr McLean, Premier McKeeva Bush and Minister for Health Mark Scotland supported the project.

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