REMARKS BY HER EXCELLENCY THE MOST HONOURABLE LADY ALLEN AT GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE CARDIAC WING OF THE BUSTAMANTE HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN – FEBRUARY 27, 2013

Good Morning to you all!

For me, this is indeed a very happy occasion – the groundbreaking ceremony for the much needed Operating Theatre for the Cardiac Wing of the Bustamante Hospital for Children.  Like many of you, I have long anticipated this event, but we have to accept the fact that nothing happens before its time.

Ladies and Gentlemen, even before I accepted the invitation to be the patron of this hospital, I always valued the work that was done here. I also understood the level of support which the hospital needed to deliver even better health care.  It was therefore a joy for me to commit my support in any way possible, for example to the fundraising efforts, as well as in my weekly interactive visits with the children. On those visits, I must admit that there is enjoyment on both sides, theirs and mine, as we read, colour and share stories.  It is an experience which I treasure dearly.

The Bustamante Hospital for Children has been seeking to obtain the ideal resources to match the health needs of children from all across Jamaica and indeed other Caribbean islands. There have been numerous challenges and obstacles, but the excellent healthcare professionals have shown their capabilities to succeed with the little they have.

Cardiac care is one field where the need is urgent and increasing and so I was delighted when Digicel gave One Hundred Million Dollars for the building, and Sagicor agreed that the proceeds of the 2012 SIGMA Run would be dedicated to the Chain of Hope to assist in the furnishing of the ICU unit.  I would like to make special mention of our Olympic star the Honourable Usain Bolt, who collaborated with us on that run. , thus helping to make it a success.

I am pleased to commend another great example of fruitful partnership between public and private sectors, organizations and individuals, who have pooled their resources for the benefit of our children. We owe a debt of gratitude to all who have contributed in any way to making the Operating Theatre and ICU a reality here at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Together all of you are giving hope and a life-line to the hundreds of children who are either born with or develop cardiac illnesses.

As I give thanks for this ground breaking ceremony, two quotations come to mind.  The first is an old proverb which says:  “He who has health, has hope.  And he who has hope, has everything.”   The second was uttered by Winston Churchill: “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any nation can have.” Let us therefore continue to work together to bring hope to our children so that Jamaica will, in years to come, enjoy the benefits  which flow from the health of our best resource- our people!

Thank you.