Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE leader of the Balearic Government, Francesc Antich, yesterday announced the temporary suspension, for a period of two months, of the construction work on the new Son Espases hospital.

This project was started by the previous Balearic Government. The objective of the suspension is to analyse “in depth” the feasibility of improving the existing Son Dureta hospital instead.

Antich made the announcement at a press conference, where he explained that the decision will be ratified at Friday's Cabinet meeting, when the “real” situation of the construction of the new hospital will be studied, as well as the possible compensation which will have to be paid to the company which was contracted for the project.

Antich recalled that, in spite of the fact that the Partido Popular (the previous Balearic Government) had announced that the work on the new hospital would be finished by 2010, actually a great part of the work has been “paralysed” by the Council of Majorca for archeological and heritage reasons.

This “paralysis” takes up a large part of the site and is affecting the construction of the hospital, specifically the car park and the heliport, “in a very dramatic way”.

Antich also recalled that there had been a series of lawsuits brought by companies who took part in the tendering process “and which are still awaiting a court ruling”.

He added that many of these construction companies presented complaints in relation to the terms laid down for the work to go ahead. “This amount of time (two months) is prudent and responsible to examine all the questions in depth with a clear idea,” said Antich.
He went on to repeat that the Balearic Government's intention to take a decision “from a responsible point of view and after talking to all the entities involved” as well as studying all the angles “in depth”.

The leader of the Balearic Government underlined that in two months there will be a “definitive” resolution concerning the future of the works as, according to him, the current Government considers that the new hospital is not being built “in the best location”.

With regard to the possible compensation to be paid, Antich said that the Government had contacted the company which had been awarded the contract and said they were “calm” about the situation, although he did admit that any stoppage of the work carries an indemnity, but he said that “the grave situation of Son Espases makes it necessary to take action of this kind”.

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