St. Lucia debates over location of a US medical school

By Earl Bousquet
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 20, 2011
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The original artist's impression of St. Lucia's national psychiatric facility built and donated by the People's Republic of China back in 2006.[Photos courtesy St. Lucia's Ministry of Health]

A tough political debate is brewing on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia over the location of an offshore American medical school at a psychiatric facility built by China and completed by Taiwan.

Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister of the 616 square-kilometer island Dr Kenny Anthony, publicly revealed on may 13 that Atlantic University School of Medicine (AUSOM), a relatively unknown US-based outfit, had been officially but quietly permitted by the island's government to establish itself at the psychiatric facility.

Originally built by China at the request of the previous St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration led by Dr Anthony, the large and spacious state-of-the-art facility was meant to serve the island's neighboring sub-regional Caribbean island states.

But the SLP lost the December 2006 general elections with the facility at the time over 90 percent completed and the incoming (now incumbent) United Workers Party (UWP) administration re-established ties with Taiwan, leading to China's "suspension" of diplomatic relations with St. Lucia in May 2007.

The UWP administration asked Taiwan to complete the facility and cancelled plans to have the facility serve the sub-region, re-naming it the "St. Lucia National Neurological and Mental Health Wellness Centre."

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