Never a dull moment in the Spiceisle: Who is fooling who?

Posted by at 5 May, at 13 : 25 PM Print

Throughout the state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the cry from all and sundry is the Value Added Tax (VAT) is killing us. While people in the higher end of the society seems to be coping, the majority of the people who are living in the lower end are bawling out because the prices of basic food items are constantly rising. And while one may think the owners of businesses will fare better, they too are crying because sales are down. Some have trim or have their staff on rotation but others have been forced to make the painful decision to go out of business.

The situation is a far cry from what the people were promised by our present government who were then in opposition. During the campaign prior to our last general elections of July 8th, 2008, Prime Minister, Honorable Tillman Thomas; who was opposition leader then, told the nation he can’t wait to get rid of the NNP and high prices. As the nation grapple with the effects of a sluggish economy, some are still living in disbelief. It is quite natural, the people are complaining now because that which they were promised is not coming their way.

No one will ever forget the constant ranting and raging of the Minister of Health Senator Ann Peters in opposition that the NNP does not care about the health of the people. She seems to have known every known or imaginary problem the hospital was experiencing. She seems to have had a solution for every problem.

The Minister of health made a big deal about the elevator and how it was outdated. What the minister failed to realized, as she condemned the elevator, she was actually cursing the Cuban Government who purchased it new for the people of Grenada. An independent survey of the elevator was done recently only to prove the minister was missed informed about the status of the machine; it is very modern.

Under her watch, the elevator has been out of service for a few months, the longest it has ever been out of service. The former minister of health in the New National Party administration Mrs. Ann David- Antoine has called on the Minister to bring back the Cuban technician who was servicing the elevator and was doing an excellent job. However the minister’s approach to dealing with the problem is nothing short of madness. She said to the nation in a recently held televised press conference, that she has hired eight (8) strong men to lift the patients up the stairs to and from surgery.

The Minister of Health has been besieged with controversy after controversy. Her predecessor was responsible for the country loosing USD one Million (1 M US) annually from an international firm for our oncology or cancer programme. This was due to inept managerial decisions.

As the country grapple with no drugs in the government dispensaries, one has to ask what has gone wrong. Where is Senator Ann Peter’s Minister of Health who seems to have had all the answers for the problem within the health sector, while in opposition?

Listening to the Minister of Health in her press conference on the chronic shortage of medicines in the government dispensary, one has to ask why? Knowing the Minister’s constant pronouncement while in opposition; condemning the NNP administration for not addressing the needs of health. She promised that the NDC will ensure that health is given the attention it deserved. NNP, she claimed never had the interested of the people at heart. And while she sounded very convincing, the information she presented was at variance with other statements previously disseminated.

When we read the writings of one commentator, who seemingly took his information from the Minister of Health press conference and not independently verifying the information, one has to question his objective. Is he about edifying or misleading the people? You should judge.

It is a known fact that the Governments of the OECS islands have been pulling their resources and buying their medical needs in bulk to benefit from Economies of Scale. Upon investigation, Grenada’s medical bill exceeds three million annually. It is very interesting to read the comment written by Mr. Lloyd Noel in his commentary, Law & Politics: Sincerity, Truth and one’s Conscience always. Publish March 30th 2010.

He wrote, “It was clear that the last Government had defaulted with its payment for a number of years; so when the new Government tried to buy needed drugs since coming into office, the suppliers quite rightly are insisting on bad debts getting paid before creating new or additional debts.” But, is this a statement of fact? If the new Government did not receive any medication since coming into office July 8 2008, then the drugs they were dispensing to patients were procured by the last administration, and of such they should know they are responsible for the payments.

Mr. Noel also failed to inform his readers, what portion of this 3 million owing is for Oncology treatment. We must remember Oncology treatment was part of a donation of US 1 million annually the government lost because of its ineptitude.

Mr. Noel should also explain to his readers what the Minister of Health meant when she said, the Government is awaiting a proposal from Island Health Services for Dialysis treatment and they have been waiting a long time; but will not sit and nibble their thumbs and wait for there are others waiting to provide the services to the country.

The country will like to know when the Ministry of Health decided to work with Island Health Services to provide this much needed dialysis treatment to the many patients on the island. The Ministry of Health suspended the contract with Island Health Services and took back the building they have refurbished. It was the Ministry of Health in a Government Information Services release January 11th 2009 which says “There is welcome news for kidney patients, for the Ministry of Health is just awaiting the arrival of two (2) technicians to set up the equipment and by later in the month, the Ministry of Health run dialysis clinic will be up and running.” It is over 15 months and up to this time the ministries clinic is not yet opened. What is happening to the kidney patients in the mean time?

With all the back and forth, the Government came into office on the ticket of revamping the Health Sector among other things. What is very alarming, since coming into office, the Government has received in excess of over $120 million in Aid and Grants. Also, the Minister of Finance said months after coming into office they have paid $54 million in unpaid claims. Are we to believe health care was not so important hence the reason why the bill was not paid? Mr. Noel we need to know.

By Pastor Winston Garraway

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