New tourism hospital getting limited concessions

| 22/12/2020 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cabinet Secretary Sam Rose (centre) and Project Director Gene Thompson sign the agreement for Aster Cayman Medcity proposal, with Chief Officer Nellie Pouchie and (standing) Health Minister Dwayne Seymour (left) and Premier Alden McLaughlin

(CNS): A second proposed medical tourism project has been given the green light by government, but this hospital will not be getting the level of concessions awarded to Health City Cayman Islands. With the exception of duty waivers on medical supplies, Aster Cayman Medcity will not get any concessions in the development phase or special treatment regarding work permits for medical staff.

The proposal is being spearheaded by Gene Thompson in partnership with Aster DM Healthcare, which operates hospitals, diagnostic centres, medical centres and pharmacies in India and the Middle East. It was founded in 1987 in the United Arab Emirates by Dr Azad Moopen and is registered in India.

This proposal was first presented to government earlier this year. Answering questions about it from CNS in October, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said that any new medical tourism project would need to be different from Health City Cayman Islands. However, Thompson also worked on HCCI, which is a very similar concept.

While a location has not yet been established and the planning process not yet started, at a press conference on Monday, Thompson said he expected the hospital development would break ground in the middle of next year. According to Thompson and his partners from Aster, what is set to be a US$350 million project will start with a 150-bed hospital, with long term plans for an assisted living facility and a medical school.

These were also promised when HCCI was announced, but so far no additional facilities have been added to it. Health City has struggled to attract the number of overseas patients envisioned when it first opened, even with world renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty at its heart. But the facility has proved a significant health advantage for Cayman, taking many more local patients than was initially proposed, especially those who would otherwise have had to seek care overseas.

While the hospital has failed to tap into the North American market in any significant way, it has attracted patients from around the region, making the project viable. Officials recently confirmed to CNS that before COVID-19, Health City was attracting around 60% of its patients from overseas, although Dr Shetty had said that at one point it had reached 70%.

Seymour had previously said that this would have to be the minimum target for international patients before government licensed another medical tourism facility.

Those involved in the new project are promising jobs and training for Caymanians and a boost to the local economy from the arrival of patients and medical staff. But officials hope that with two state-of-the-art hospitals, the Cayman Islands will become a regional hub for medical tourism. Nevertheless, this is clearly a very long term investment for the Dubai-based partners involved.

As he gave his backing to the facility, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed that the MOU that government signed will be a public document, though it has not yet been released.

“As a part of this agreement, Aster will use local contractors and local service providers during construction. Additionally, the company will be employing suitably qualified Caymanians over the various phases of construction and when the facilities are operational,” the premier said, noting that those who come from elsewhere to work at the hospital will need homes to rent or buy and will be spending in the local economy.

As part of the agreement Aster will implement an educational programme for local students interested in healthcare. “They will also fund an annual scholarship… for US$50,000 yearly, for a period of 2 years, and US$75,000 yearly for the next 2 years and US$100,000 for the fifth year,” the premier said.

In addition, Aster has said it will establish a clinic on Cayman Brac with supporting services, including telemedicine and an infusion centre.

See more information and full remarks by the premier and the minister in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Medical Business, Tourism

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    China has embraced the Western diet. Within a single generation, over half of the Chinese adult population are now overweight/obese, and are developing the same CVD/Type II risk factors that afflict the West. That number in China is almost double that of entire North American population. Me thinks that China will, out of necessity, need to become the go-to for fast-cheap cardiac care in years ahead – and that inevitable capacity build-out will surely apply new pressures to undercut the previously successful Indian healthcare models everywhere, in the intermediate term.

    • Annonymous says:

      Different markets. As a North or South American, where would you rather recover? In an autocratic, overpopulated polution factory or a paradise on Earth 3 hours from NYC and 60 min from Miami?

  2. J|) says:

    “Aster Cayman Medcity will not get any concessions in the development phase or special treatment”

    [Gordon Ramsay voice: “ah, finally, some good fkn food”]

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shetty kicked Gene out and this is his revenge, and we give him concessions to have his little financial tantrum.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well let’s Hope Gene is more careful selecting a partner in this venture than he was with Coral beach.

      • Anonymous says:

        Greed clouds a person’s judgment.

      • See ya says:

        IMr Premier you are there wringing ya hands, ya palms sweating a wa.

        In all a dis razz.e dazzle announce,ent, has anybody said or figured out the foot print of this project, and what infrastructure increase will we the people have to pay for , while dem a laugh all the way to the Banks downtown George Town. Gone from bad to most definitely worser!

        Yeah it true we need several truck loads of brooms to sweep the foot prints of these elected. Orons from off our streets and our parliament. See ya

    • Anonymous says:

      I would rather go to Shetty’s hospital than Gene, Gene the Money Machine’s hospital if I needed medical care.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The ironic part about all these concessions is that by reducing government revenue and increasing spending, we will ultimately need to start direct taxation in the Cayman Islands to cover the shortfall. And these same concession recipients will be the very same ones who can afford clever accountants and lawyers to find loopholes that allow them to evade paying their share of taxes.

  5. Anonymous says:

    they have some money and need to spend desperately.
    that’s how they come up with these ideas LOL

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is this story on Shetty a concern?

    CNS: No because it’s not the same Shetty (the clue is different initials), which is a common name in India, and the subject of this article does not appear to have any connection to Dr Devi Shetty or to Health City.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Where is this new hospital going to be built?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is Mac gonna start hurting women tourists so much they need their own hospital?

  9. Catcha Fiya says:

    Anon 11:26 AM Please Spare US! We still desperately trying to get around this Covid 19 pandemic. You elevating yet another “GREAT” caymanian ! to God like Status could well put Cayman right underneath the waves! Come back in about 2 years time with empirical evidence of why we should bestow this on honor on one of the Consigliere of this Mafiya turkey & ham cult sitting in the LA building aka Lackeys Association HQ.

    • ACaymanian says:

      Hmm another big land sale big commissions and several years before ground breaking. Why do we continue to facilitate and assist in financing speculative projects through concessions. even thought no one wants to talk about it. . If the project goes through we have reduced the bill for commissions on real estate sale, and if it doesn’t the projected financiers for the project collect their fees and go, do we the people benefit in this type of deals.

      What should really happen is that anybody coming to this land who genuinely is interested in doing a project here “shall” put a good faith deposit with the Planning department as evidence of the ability to proceed with a project with or without financing . The amount should be based on a formula that takes the amount as percentage the total value of the project or the total estimated value of the requested concession. In this way, government is required to have an idea of what we are giving away and the country compensated for time spent talking/ negotiating on behalf of the country whether or not the project finally takes place.

      We cannot continue to have Finance Misters tell us they don’t know what the value of negotiated concessions is , and hopefully dampens the possibility of any shenanigans being conducted. Any one has a better solution please .ets hear your..

      Merry Christmas To All

  10. Cruyff says:

    An amazing achievement for Cayman. Thank you Gene and CIG.

    I am so proud to live in the Cayman Islands.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again, I am certain that anyone working at this facility will not have to meet the same standards as other medical professionals in Cayman under the Health Practitioners Board. I assume also that there will be a full indemnity, which means you cannot sue the hospital. These are the benefits. I seen Gene Thompson is on a roll, first a black ops site in the Brac through Tech City and now another tourism hospital that will eventually be a local hospital. Do we never learn?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for asking good questions Wendy. Where will it go?

    Knowing the developer, probably the most environmentally sensitive land he can find. Colliers Pond is up for sale.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Gene is a national hero and a great man for all these wonderful developments he has brought to Cayman. Also this is because of the great leadership and foresight of Honorable Seymour; he should be the next premier as he has saved us from Covid! These men only have Cayman at heart and go the extra mile always, bless you both.

  14. Anonymous says:

    cayman’s financial services industry takes many forms…

  15. Anonymous says:

    CNS your story is incomplete…with respect to concessions by CIG. See link to filings made on the BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange) on December 22, 2020 below:

    In particular section 4 of the table in Annex 1 reads: “…. Significant benefits include but not limited to exclusivity, tax and duty concessions, recognition of – medical qualifications from suitable countries, etc.”

    • A Caymanian says:

      Bunch a. s what is the $. A.he, words and figures are required on a bank draft, Cheque or otther negotiable instrument. All of that is just words with no calculations and at the end of the of no value or benefit if the project vanishes. Let’s start being follow fashion and think for truly the benefit of the people

    • Anonymous says:

      So why is it that the stock exchange disclosure does not match what Cayman politicians are telling us? CIG should release the agreement.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I hope this is not too much for the local economy to support causing both to fail. But I guess its like Hotels never enough for some people.

  17. Anonymous says:

    No substance to the plans yet big announcement where is the LOL button?

  18. Banana Republican says:

    Mr. McLaughlin reminds me of McKeeva Bush at the end of the udp days with lots of flash n fluff for signing the Memorandum of Understanding. Desperate times clearly with very little details besides the usual empty promises from cig and the developers led by Cayman’s Mr. Burns the puppet master Eugene Thompson

  19. Anonymous says:

    More wonderland promises from the developers and government.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody please pencil down those concessions on a sticky note and pass it to Roy. Thanks.

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