– employees to be laid offNEW GPC’s 70,000 square foot state-of-the-art pharmaceutical storage facility at Ruimveldt, Georgetown is facing closure unless the Public Health Ministry or Georgetown Public Hospital chose to lease it to continue storage of their medicines and medical supplies. If a decision is taken to close the facility, over 40 employees will face the breadline.NEW GPC’s storage facility at Ruimveldt, GeorgetownAccording to the company, NEW GPC has been allowing the Public Health Ministry and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to utilise storage facilities owned by the company free of cost. This has been the practice for many years and such an arrangement was made possible under the WHO-guided prequalification system which also saw NEW GPC performing quality control services, providing logistical support to both agencies in addition to providing a regulated and certified environment for pharmaceuticals and other sensitive inventory.The warehouse facilities which were specially designed comprise of cold/cool room with 24/7 back-up generators and controlled temperature room and secure/isolated storage for other controlled substances and hazardous items. At the moment the MPH/GPHC is utilising two warehouses at Ruimveldt and one at Farm within NEW GPC Complex on East Bank Demerara.With the Government terminating the Prequalification System and the simultaneous introduction of open public international tendering, NEW GPC is no longer required to extend warehousing and support services of this magnitude. Besides that, such facilities and services are very expensive to operate and maintain.In light of the above NEW GPC has given the MPH/GPHC the option to either vacate the premises or alternatively continue occupation under a tenancy agreement.In March a small number of employees were laid off with full payment of all their benefits. This was a result of loss of business and an apparent Government preference for dealing with importers, who by the nature of their business do not need too many employees.Even in instances when NEW GPC have won tender awards, as the case of the HIV diagnostic supplies, a reason was found to award the business to another company.The NEW GPC pharmaceutical storage facility which is arguably the best of its kind in the entire Caribbean, was designed in accordance with WHO standards for pharmaceutical storage and it is approved by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department. The facility has (a) furnished offices, (b) heavy-duty storage racks, (c) conveyor, (d) furniture, (e) sprinkler system, (f) security cameras, (g) biometric clock, (h) permanent pallets, (i) fire extinguishers, (j) separate receiving and dispatch area, (k) cold, cool and room temperature storage, (l) separate secure storage for high value/risk items, (m) quarantine zone and (n) special storage for controlled substances/DDA, Hyster electrical lifts and other auxiliary equipment.The layout provides wide aisles and storage racks with three tiers to facilitate quick access and easy stacking of three pallet placements. With a ceiling height of 17 ft in the central warehouse total volume is approximately 868,000 cubic feet.There is also an open yard area within the perimeter fence measuring 415 x 75 ft or 31,125 sq ft to accommodate temporary storage of containers or parking of Canter trucks and other vehicles.