Cancer Center project still in the cards, says board chairman

The original article can be found in: Antigua Observer

St. John’s Antigua- The Cancer Center of the Eastern Caribbean (CCEC) is set to proceed despite delays, according to a letter to this newspaper from the board chairman, Dr Arthur T Porter.

Construction on the site is yet to begin. The facility was due to be completed by the end of 2012. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the centre in April 2012.

In a letter to Observer Media, Porter said the board is moving rapidly towards the construction phase – although he provides no timeline.

“We are moving rapidly to enter the construction phase of what will be a stellar beacon of hope to the many patients struggling with a diagnosis of cancer,” Porter said.

He added that a consultant oncologist has been on site in Antigua for the past two years and has assisted over 100 patients.

CCEC is a joint venture between Global Health Partners Ltd, The Government of Antigua & Barbuda, the governments of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and MEI Healthcare, Inc.

In October 2012, board member Cotrille George said much of the building was being constructed overseas and would only take around a month to erect, once the materials arrived on island.

“The major work is done abroad; the building is put together. It’s a modular building and the equipment would have been fitted in overseas and then disassembled, then shipped and when those things arrive here, it will take us less than one month to see the building erected,” George said at the time.

George, at the time, said they hoped to see their first patients within the first two to three months of 2013.

However, when contacted last week, he said he was unable to give any update on the timeline and when construction might be complete.

Meanwhile, in the letter to Observer Media, Porter also defended his reputation against a string of reports in the mainstream Canadian media, including the Globe and Mail – Canada’s largest national newspaper in circulation.

The reports have suggested, among other things, that Porter left the McGhill University Health Center mired in debt – debt which reached over $100 million a year after his resignation.

The Canadian media also point to several concerns over his management of a number of large international projects and point to a number of court cases that have been brought against him.

Porter did not specifically address the allegations reported in the Canadian press but suggested many are unsubstantiated and distorted.

The lead man for the Eastern Caribbean Cancer Center listed a number of his other achievements.

Several attempts by Observer Media to contact Arthur Porter directly have been unsuccessful to date.

Meanwhile, a release from the Medical Pavilion in the Bahamas said Porter is currently being treated for cancer.

“Porter was today (Wednesday) admitted to Doctors Hospital for a surgical procedure prior to commencing treatment for a newly discovered malignancy,” said the release from Dr Conville S Brown, President of the Medical Pavilion, Bahamas.

“Dr Porter will receive his Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy at The Cancer Centre of which he is Managing Director,” said Dr Brown, adding, “Dr Porter intends to continue to manage The Centre and its clinical practice.”

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