October 24, 2020

Patience needed for Shetty hospital

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The site in East End for the hospital

Groundbreaking on Dr Devi Shetty’s Narayana Cayman health complex has been delayed indefinitely, pending completion of regulations to effect legal changes and submission of building applications to the Planning Department.

The start of the $2 billion, 15-year project had been scheduled for this month, but will not break ground now until at least the end of the year, and likely not until next year.

Minister for Health Mark Scotland told iNews that he was working on regulations to underpin three of the four legal changes Dr Shetty had required before building his 500-acre complex at East End’s High Rock.

The legislation, changed at various times earlier this year,  encompasses the Health Practice Law, regarding licensing of doctors; the Tax Concessions Law, exempting companies from potential future taxes; and the Medical Negligence Law, capping at $500,000 awards for pain and suffering, while compensation for malpractice itself remains unlimited.

“There are a number of things. We are working on regulations for the health practitioners, a key item for registering doctors. We have committed to them, though, for the end of November,” he said, indicating all work would be completed in approximately six weeks.

Regulations, developed by Cabinet, give directions on how laws are applied and enforced, giving shape to legislative intent.

Mr Scotland said a fourth legal change, enabling organ transplants and tissue donations, “would come to the Legislative Assembly early next year, in January”.

He said the failure to make application to the Planning Department for building permission was also responsible for the groundbreaking delay on the complex, scheduled for at least 250 acres on the 600-acre site.

“They can’t have groundbreaking until they submit a plan. They have acquired the property,” but not put any proposals to the department, he said.

“It’s a long process, and it hasn’t started.” Mr Scotland said. If no objections are lodged, planning applications take at least two months. Dissent can indefinitely delay approval.

Dr Devi Shetty

Conceding that the Shetty group, managed in Cayman by developer Gene Thompson, had “not yet” made application to the Planning Department, spokesman David Legge said only “We are moving forward on the planning issue”.

He declined to say why no applications had been submitted, but said the project remained “very much on track, and we are very positive and very excited about the way the project is moving along”.

He did not know when an application might go to the department.

“We are working with the government and Dr Shetty,” he said, but did not have a projected date for either a submission or the start of work.

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