By Gemma Handy
Work on a new clinic to serve the large community of Bolans and surrounding area is set to be finished by early next month.
The long-awaited purpose-built facility will have space for doctors, dentists, a medication dispensary and nurses’ quarters, along with an area for stabilising sick or injured patients.
It will replace the existing small clinic in Bolans village and is adjacent to where a new police station is also being created. The latter is tipped for completion within three months.
“Antigua has a long history of community-based health and security services,” Works Minister Lennox Weston told Observer.
“With the focus on preventive healthcare and limiting non-communicable diseases, we definitely need our community healthcare clinics upgraded.
“It should be finished and ready for occupancy in the next two weeks, definitely by early October,” he said.
“Bolans is a large area and we want to revert back to the historical situation where residents could get quality healthcare from community-based services.”
Construction is also underway on the police station on the site of the former decrepit facility which closed in October 2017 and was demolished earlier this year.
Until recently residents were forced to use the Johnson’s Point police station instead. Officers have been operating from a tiny outpost at the entrance to Jolly Harbour since May.
The poor state of police stations across the country has long invoked the ire and frustration of those who work in them. Officers have previously threatened action unless addressed.
Weston acknowledged the force’s complaints and alluded to difficulty finding appropriate spaces to rent to be used as alternatives.
“We are now building one and we are going to build a fire station at the back of it. The police station will be finished within the next three months, maximum,” he said.
“It will have all the facilities required for good community policing and its design will be used as a prototype for others going forward.”
One departure from older stations is the absence of officer accommodation.
“This is not designed for police officers to live in, which is a big change from before,” he explained. “It will be smaller, more efficient, purpose-built and high quality, both for prisoners and police officers.”
The facility will have two or three holding cells that can be used for short periods, with detainees transferred to Police Headquarters for longer periods.
The small Jolly Harbour facility is set to shut when the new station opens.
“That outpost will close, although I have to say the residents of Jolly Harbour love it. It gives residents a much greater sense of security. The reaction time is quicker so it has enhanced the value of their product,” Weston said.
“You never know what can happen in the future. If its viability proves to be sufficient it might stay open, but the plan now is to close it and move to the new station,” he added.