St. Eustatius has received a hospital container unit that was made available by the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport. Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij said the Hospitainer unit was flown in from the Netherlands and shipped from St. Maarten to the port of Statia, where it arrived on Wednesday morning.
The Hospitainer will be placed on a land lot behind the old English and Jewish cemeteries. Over the past week, the public entity St. Eustatius has formed a task force aimed at managing the installation of the six-container unit. The ground in the area needs to be prepared and levelled, and cement poured before the containers can be put in place.
The government approached several local contractors, and Statia Construction was awarded the contract on Tuesday, April 21.
The project includes clearing and compacting the area, and pouring a cement slab on which the hospital container
can be set up and secured. A sewage system will be built and water and electricity installed, all within a period of two weeks. Once the grounds and utilities are installed, a technical team will fly in to arrange for the actual setting-up of the container hospital, which is estimated to take one week.
“Most likely the hospital container will not be immediately operational, because this week the Ministry of Health is looking for medical staff for the hospital container and this, of course, includes coordination between the Public Health Department and management at Queen Beatrix Medical Centre,” Van Rij said.
Van Rij said the island government hopes that with the Hospitainer operational, the medical facilities in Statia will be at the right level. “This means we have basically two hospitals available on the island.”
V i d e o
In preparation for the third emergency ordinance, Van Rij said it had been decided to close a number of businesses, whereas a number of essential businesses were allowed to provide services under strict guidelines, which included restaurants. Dining at restaurants is not allowed, to ensure social-distancing, but restaurants are allowed to be open so that they can offer takeout service.
Van Rij said he had been at an establishment in Lower Town on Friday evening, April 17, waiting for his takeout order while respecting social distancing and not having any drink. While waiting for his takeout order Van Rij observed a number of people sitting around a table.
“I was totally surprised about what was happening there because that was, in my opinion, in conflict with the emergency ordinance. At no time did I approach this group. I did, however, strongly address the situation together with police officers of the Police Force of the Caribbean Netherlands, with the owner of the establishment, [pointing out — Ed.] that this practice was and is in direct conflict with the emergency ordinance.”
Van Rij said a video had been made of the incident. “The video was sent to the Dutch central government, creating the impression that I, the government commissioner was acting in conflict with the emergency ordinance. This is far from the truth. The police officers and the owner of the establishment know what really happened. I know who the producers and the distributors of the video are. I wonder why these persons did this, why they sent this video … to suggest that I was not respecting the rules.”
Van Rij invited these persons to his office to speak face-to-face and said he hopes they have the courage to come in and speak to him. He said that he and Acting Government Commissioner Alida Francis “always” work in full transparency.
“We remain committed to the work we are doing, and we will continue to be open to the residents of the island,” he said.
The Daily Herald.