Speech

It was a matter of record that although the Cornwall Regional Hospital was completed under a People’s National Party government, however, the real paternity for the idea must rest with the former public servant, former Member of Parliament and former Minister of Health, Dr. Herbert Eldemire.

The notion that the Cornwall Regional Hospital should be named after the late public servant is, in the words of a former Prime Minister, “impatient of debate”. It is not something that we should be arguing over, causing distress to the family and all other well wishers, and bringing into question the good and honourable name of the former Minister of Health.

The records show that Cabinet, by decision number 38/10 dated October 19, 2010, moved for the Cornwall Regional Hospital to be renamed “The Herbert W. Eldemire Hospital”. Subsequent to this, Cabinet, in its decision number 32/11 dated August 22, 2011, recalled decision number 38/10 and thereby approved the recommendation for the name of the hospital to be amended to “The Herbert W. Eldemire Regional Hospital”.

Both the name change and the subsequent amendment to the name change have been gazetted.

Dr. Eldemire served Jamaica as Minister of Health from 1962-1972. During that period he saw to the modernization of Jamaica’s health sector in the post-independence period.

In addition to his instrumentality in the establishment of Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr. Eldemire, through his passion and drive, saw to the establishment of the Cornwall School of Nursing and the introduction of the National Family Planning Programme.

It doesn’t stop there, Dr. Eldemire has to his credit the construction of the Savanna-La-Mar Hospital, the Bustamante Hospital for Children, the Dental Auxiliary School and the Enrolled Assistant Nurses Programme.

Dr. Eldemire also maintained a large private practice in Montego Bay for over 40 years.

He dedicated his life to healing and health care and for that we are immensely grateful.

It is against this background that after discussions with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, the Mayor of Montego Bay, the Minister of Labour and Social Security and the Members of Parliament for St. James, that the Cornwall Regional Hospital should be renamed “The Herbert W. Eldemire Regional Hospital” in keeping with the Cabinet decision and the willingness of his family.

The Honourable Dr. Fenton Ferguson

Minister of Health