President attends ceremony at site of hospital

Updated: 2013-06-03 01:38

By Zhu Zhe in Port of Spain (China Daily)

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President Xi Jinping, on his first visit to the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, participated in the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone for a new children's hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The Couva Children's Hospital and Multi-Training Facility, which will be built by Shanghai Construction Group, is expected to be open by the end of 2015, SCG said.

President attends ceremony at site of hospital

A Chinese worker with the Shanghai Construction Group holds the flags of Trinidad and Tobago and China as he awaits the arrival of President Xi Jinping at the Couva Children's Hospital and Multi-Training Facility in Preysal, Couva, on Sunday. Andrea De Silva / REUTERS

Once completed, the facility, which will sit on 26 hectares, will be the best hospital for children in the entire Caribbean, the Trinidad and Tobago government said.

While inspecting the site, Xi told Chinese workers there that he hopes the project will meet quality standards and be completed on schedule.

"I hope the hospital can be a new symbol of the friendship between our two countries," he said.

Trinidad and Tobago Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal, who spoke during the ceremony, said, "The facility will be the legacy of the kindness of the government of China and the vision of the Trinidad and Tobago government."

Once finished, the project will have an 80-bed children's hospital, an adult hospital with 150 beds (including 10 beds for burns treatment), a physiotherapy center with 32 VIP rooms and two VVIP (very, very important persons) rooms, and a multi-training facility for medicine and nursing that can accommodate up to 200 students, according to the construction plan.

Shen Saichao, a manager of the project with SCG, said he has been in Trinidad and Tobago for seven months preparing for the hospital construction.

"The project is progressing well, and we plan to start building the main part of the project very soon," said Shen, who comes from East China's Jiangsu province.

The hospital is not the first major project that Chinese construction companies have undertaken in the country.

Zhang Qing, a senior executive of SCG's local branch in Trinidad and Tobago, said Chinese companies have finished several big projects here, such as the construction of the government house and the renovation of the Piarco International Airport.

While meeting with Xi on Saturday morning, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said China is helping her country with a number of other major infrastructure projects, such as the south campus of the University of the West Indies.

Xi and Persad-Bissessar have agreed to further advance cooperation in infrastructure construction at the meeting.

Wang Ying in Shanghai contributed to this story.



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