Some nine months after signing a multimillion-dollar Line of Credit (LOC) with the Indian Government for the upgrade of three primary healthcare facilities here, the Government of Guyana is now in the process of selecting a consultancy firm to oversee the project.Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Resident Representative of the Indian Exim Bank, Sailesh Prasad signing the LoC agreement back in July for the upgrade of the three hospitalsThis was recently revealed by Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venekatachalam Mahalingam during a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office.According to High Commissioner Mahalingam, a list of companies has already been compiled and handed over to the Guyana Government for selection.“The Government of Guyana is in the process of identifying one of the companies, which will undertake the Detail Project Report (DPR) as well as the Project Management Consultancy (PMC). That is the first step so that (the selected company) will know exactly, what are the specifications of the project that they are supposed to undertake,” the Indian diplomat had explained.Back in July last year, Finance Minister Winston Jordan signed the US$17.5 million LoC with the Export/Import (Exim) Bank of India to refurbish existing facilities and construct new buildings at the Suddie Hospital in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); West Demerara Regional Hospital in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and the Bartica District Hospital in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). The LoC will also be used to procure medical equipment to furnish the new and renovated facilities.Since the Indian Government is funding the project, it is required that the contracts be awarded to companies from that country.At the signing, Minister Jordan had stated that the upgrade of these facilities would not only improve health-care delivery in Guyana, but the project as a whole will also ease the burden currently placed on the Public Health Ministry ’s budget, which already caters for evacuating hinterland patients to the Georgetown Public Hospital during emergencies.Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, who also witnessed the signing, indicated that primary health care was the most important level of health care. Therefore, she added, “it is incumbent on her Ministry to ensure that services, including prevention, promotion, rehabilitation and palliative care, are delivered.The Public Health Minister expressed gratitude for this gesture and assured that the LoC will be utilised to fulfil the Ministry’s mandate of enhancing the delivery of primary health care.This project is an initiative of the coalition Government, which wanted to use funds set aside for the controversial Specialty Hospital Project for the modernisation of the three primary health-care institutions.However, the Indian Government had committed to provide a separate loan to make-over the three hospitals in exchange for the Specialty Hospital project continuing. But the Specialty Hospital project fell through.With an US$18 million LoC from the Indian Exim bank, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration was hoping to create a thriving health tourism industry locally with the construction of a Specialty Hospital.However, the project quickly found itself in much controversy causing the then Government to end a contract with the India-based contractor Surendra Engineering in 2014, citing instances of alleged fraud and delays. The Donald Ramotar-led regime subsequently filed a lawsuit against the firm for failing to honour its obligations. Guyana is yet to recover close to $1 billion from that company.While in Opposition, both the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) had strongly opposed the Specialty Hospital Project and upon its assumption to office in 2015, the coalition had decided to scrap the project, which had already expended some US$4.2 million on certain preliminary works.However, after some convincing by the Indian Government, the coalition Administration hesitantly proceeded with the project, handing it over to another India-based contractor, Fedders Lloyd to complete using the remaining US$13.8 million. But a few months later, that company was blacklisted by the World Bank until 2020, forcing the project to a standstill once again.Following this, the APNU/AFC Administration got the US$18 million LoC written off, with the Indian Government taking the remaining funds and an agreement was signed for Guyana to only pay back the money that was already spent. This paved the way for the new LoC for the upgrade of the primary healthcare system.