There are plans for the installation of a state-of-the-art dental school in St Lucy at the cost of US $54 million from private investment.
The project was introduced by Minister of Housing Dwight Sutherland yesterday when he tabled the related Resolution in Parliament. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.
Sutherland announced the world class dental school and accompanying facilities would be built after compulsory acquisition of the 9.024 acres of land from Fairview Investment Fund. That land, situated in Harrison’s Plantation, combined with the 74 acres already owned by the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII), will be used for a public purpose of education and economic and tourism development.
Some of the facilities include a six-storey student residence to house 400 international students in the first instance, an oral pathology laboratory and oral radiology centre, along with restaurants, convenience stores, a hotel and a facility to host international medical conferences.
“This project intends to raise the level of dentistry, dental health and the knowledge in this country and even the wider Caribbean,” Sutherland began. “With this project the dentists will have the opportunity to specialise and not only specialise but to teach. It will enhance the profile of that industry, not just in Barbados but globally.
“A world class dental school with state-of-the-art medical equipment will attract students, many students. Not only that, but a modernised and digitalised dental laboratory serving this country as well as the rest of the Caribbean and the global marketplace and focusing on areas such as manufacturing and the supply of dental products not only locally, but regionally and globally.”
Sutherland, a former Minister of Sports, believes this addition to the north of the island could boost the economy by exporting these goods around the world. In his eyes, that would make Barbados a global hub for dentistry. However, he was also keen to stress that the plans would be of benefit to locals.
“These products will be available locally so we expect Barbadians to benefit significantly in terms of healthcare. It will also go a long way in saving foreign exchange because it will reduce the need for us to go and buy these products overseas. This is significant. Foreign exchange could be used to buy other products. We now become a net exporter rather than a net importer.”
Sutherland concluded that the inclusion of the institution would help people around the world see Barbados as a good place to live and raise their children. (JC)