NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 26, 2022)- – Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, Senior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) today, May 26, 2022, announced plans to construct a new multi-purpose laboratory on Nevis.
Speaking at his monthly press conference on Thursday, the Premier revealed that a two-man team from the US Southern Command visited Nevis on Wednesday to review and assist the NIA in selecting an appropriate site for the construction of the proposed laboratory.
“It is envisaged that this lab will be constructed using grant funding from the United States government. In addition the team would have collected pertinent information that will be used in developing the proposed architectural plans for the lab.
“Let me go on record to express heartfelt thanks to the United States government through the United States Southern Command for agreeing to consider funding for a multipurpose lab for the island of Nevis.”
The facility will have two broad elements or objectives- to ensure items that are traded are scientifically safe and to ensure that the food and water consumed in the federation are safe.
The laboratory will also address food, water and air quality, which falls under chemistry and microbiology.
Premier Brantley informed that the new multipurpose laboratory will be engaged in a number of activities that will assist a wide cross section of government ministries including health, environment, agriculture and water.
“It will be involved in testing all packaged/bottled water and be an occasional resource for environmental health and water departments’ samples on Nevis when required; test dialysis machines between patients for both chemistry and microbiology- and this is going to be very useful when we deploy our dialysis centre here on Nevis; provide indoor air quality service for mold, gases and particulate matter; test food and beverages for allergens, and toxins; and this one is very important, we will test fish and fish products for toxins such as ciguatera to improve quality of intake for consumers. Ciguatera as I understand it is what causes fish poisoning, and so it will be very useful if our fisherfolk can have their fish tested and our consumers will have more confidence in eating that fish.”
He further noted that the facility is expected to have an area dedicated to managing the testing of biologicals such as COVID-19 and storing vaccines under low temperatures.
The Premier registered his gratitude to Mr. Stuart Laplace and his team from the Bureau of Standards and the Multipurpose Lab on St. Kitts; Mr. Brian Dyer from the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) and his team; Hon. Spencer Brand and his team at the Ministry of Communications, including the Project Management team on Nevis and its Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernie Stapleton for their collective work to bring the NIA to this stage with respect to the proposed laboratory.
“I believe it is a welcome development for the island of Nevis and shows that we are looking forward in terms of building out our developmental agenda,” he said.