October 23, 2020

University College to host Shetty training


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Premier Bush address the crowd

Cayman’s University College will host the inaugural training programmes for Dr Devi Shetty’s Narayana Medical College, scheduled for an August groundbreaking, while the nursing school is likely to begin in September.
The training programmes are intended as a kind of head start to the opening of the Narayana medical school in later phases of the two-year building project, but will launch the effort to train and licence nurses.
Speaking to a crowd of at least 100 at a Tuesday-night courthouse rally, Premier McKeeva Bush announced the UCCI programme, saying planning approvals for the initial 140-bed phase of the 15-year, $2 billion project — to encompass a 2,000-bed specialty-care hospital, assisted-living centre, research facilities and guest quarters – were expected soon.
“The Shetty hospital will enable us to do things right here that we could not do before. The first phase will be built on 50 acres, and the planning and parcel numbers will be issued in the coming weeks. Planning approval will be in the next three months” Mr Bush said. “We need a proper and improved training programme for nurses, and this will be done through UCCI.”
In early January, Dr Shetty, local project director Gene Thompson and Narayana CEO Dr A Raghuvanshi said the medical school would begin “just after” the August groundbreaking, “with an intake of 100 students toward the end of the year, in cooperation with a local school while construction is under way at the Narayana centre.”
While never identified, UCCI had been rumoured as the “local institution”, Mr Bush’s Tuesday remarks were the first formal indication the school would be the venue for the inaugural training courses.

Mr Bush said phase one would be complete in 12 months, employing 300 on site to start, expanding to 450 within two years. In other remarks, Mr Bush rejected opposition claims he had misled the public about closure of 2,500 feet of West Bay Road, enabling redevelopment of the old Marriott Courtyard Hotel, set to start, he said, in one year. “I want to clear up the obstructions and misconceptions. No one is being misled. The length of road to be closed is between Coutts and Yacht Club Drive, and that is still 2,500 feet that will be closed to vehicular traffic.”

Alternate measurements putting the length at 3,731 feet and 4,290 feet formed part of the beachfront properties north of Tiki Beach, he said, but the public would have full access to them.

“You can still walk and cycle across that, you just can’t drive your car. The existing public beach will be extended to give better public amenities, a walking track and a better beach. We are not giving it away.

“No one can be stopped from using the beach, from bathing or from walking,” he said, suggesting the 2,500 feet of closure, re-routed onto the four-lane Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension, was only 10.5% of the 26,287 feet to the four-way stop in West Bay.

“And that’s what they want to go to London about?” he asked, alluding to the early-March UK visit to opposition and government officials by North Side independent MLA Ezzard Miller, East End PPM MLA Arden McLean and West Bay activist Alice Mae Coe.

Accusing “the imposter captain”, Bryan Ebanks and “make-believe lion” Paul Rivers, both from West Bay, Mr Miller, Mr McLean and PPM leader Alden McLaughlin of irresponsibility, he said they were damaging the entire Cayman Islands.

“There are genuine concerns, and I am trying to improve things, but this reckless speech is doing more and more damage to the country. These are cave-people, citizens who oppose virtually everything. It’s pure unadulterated harassment.”

He detailed the benefits from the Dart-government ForCayman Investment Alliance, saying the $1.5 billion, 30-year programme of social, community and infrastructure development was in the best interests of the country and that construction of the George Town port would provide employment and fresh business opportunities.

Finally, rejecting nascent corruption charges — and the dual police-governor probe — against him, Mr Bush declared himself unafraid, saying “the old fire” had been rekindled and he was reconsidering the retirement he had previously proposed.

“I am not scared of anyone, whether in the governor’s office or anywhere else. This economy is turning around, I said I was tired, that I had lost the fight when I lost my daughter, and I said I wanted young people to come up and that I could not be here forever. Maybe I needed some sympathy, but I never said I was not going to run.

Now, having heard the opposition, he said “I am not going. I am not prepared to go. I am the premier, I am the leader and woe to this country if they elect Mr Mclean, Mr McLaughlin, Mr Miller or Mr Ebanks.”

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