St Lucia opposition exposes government’s reckless approach to healthcare

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Moses Jn Baptiste

By Melanius Alphonse
Caribbean News Now Associate Managing Editor
melanius@caribbeannewsnow.com

CASTRIES, St Lucia — At a press conference held earlier this month, the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) said, “The most important priorities of the government are plain to see and daily the prime minister continues to speak glaring untruths and use diversions to have the people of Saint Lucia, shift our focus from shameful handling of the deepening crises in healthcare.”

Moses Jn Baptiste, SLP spokesman on health, agriculture, fisheries and food production, in a presentation entitled ‘Recent government decision on healthcare intensify suffering’ said:

“For nearly three years the government of the United Workers Party (UWP) has, through its actions, deliberately caused patients, medical staff and other professional staff of the St Jude Hospital to endure additional, avoidable suffering and frustration.

“The Saint Lucia Labour Party interprets the government’s actions as careless and without due regard, to the people who are suffering most” and “suggest that the UWP Administration is not interested in completing the St Jude hospital and continue to hold the people of Saint Lucia in contempt.”

At a press conference on February 6, Jn Baptiste said:

“Reliable reports indicate that the Victoria Hospital has had to accommodate patients for days in the causality department, inadequate x-ray services at the St Jude hospital have forced patients to seek services outside of the hospital thus delaying crucial diagnosis.”

“There continues to be an acute shortage of important medicines for the treatment of Saint Lucians and other people who access our health services …with the reality in some cases and the possibility, that a loved one will die because of the indecision of the government and the callous manner in which the healthcare matters have been approached. Increasingly, reports of Saint Lucians who are afraid to visit St Jude Hospital or Victoria Hospital as a result of the worsening conditions are growing.”

In a response to media questions about the health crisis on Saint Lucia, the minister of health Mary Isaac said:

“In terms of the health status of the nation I am going to give you a briefing as soon as I am able to do so. Right now, I would prefer to brief my staff and I have not done that. So, for this year I will have to brief the staff of the ministry of health then also the associations, the relevant associations and of course the media is going to be at those briefings”

When questioned about the impending privatization of health care, Isaac said:

“I do not know that we have any deal with Health City Cayman to finalise… we have about three different consulting agencies on the table and as soon as we hear from all three and we have all the information form all three, the ministry of health is going to take a decision and everybody else will know what …the other two players, one is PAHO. The consultants were here this week. The consultants were here Monday [Feb 4] and we also are expecting something from Colombia.”

According to Jn Baptiste, “This is the same minister months ago who vehemently denied that there was any plan to privatize our hospitals. This the same government which claimed that the transition process to OKEU is going smoothly, yet we are hearing from the minister of health that three possible operators of our donated OKEU Hospital are being consulted.”

Notwithstanding the prime minister has told the whole world that he does not listen, Jn Baptiste continued to impress upon the government to “take the life or death situations which happen every day at our health institutions everyday seriously and take steps to put an end to the anxiety of our people.”

Leader of the SLP, Philip J Pierre, has repeatedly stated that, following the vote of no confidence:

“The verdict was clear, the United Workers Party (UWP) buried their consciences on the altar of expediency and voted to endorse and support in full public view the incompetence of an uncaring reckless and irresponsible prime minister. The motion has now implicated all the elected members with the PM’s incompetence. They are now all complicit and culpable in the prime minister’s gross mismanagement of the country.”

“We were able to bring to the nation in a focused manner the gross incompetence of the prime minister and the reasons why he cannot be trusted and therefore unfit to lead our country. The irresponsible financial management of the prime minister who in two years has borrowed $1.2 billion – more than 33% of the total National Debt of the country.”

That SLP reaffirmed that upon re-assuming governance that it will do all it can to undo any privatized arrangement, meanwhile, “The government continue to display their callous and reckless actions while the people continue to receive less than adequate care because of the direct and deliberate decisions and inactions of an uncaring government.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Poor medical care has always been chronic in the cash starved Caribbean region compounded by poor government administration of the system. If provatization would result in an improvement of the current state of affairs from the perspectives of cost, efficiency, and effectiveness, no one should object.

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