By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — The conscience sometimes has a way of showing itself even in the worst of people, a commentor on social media said, adding that one knows his limitation. Alternatively, to speak it sheepishly connotate the ‘criminal neglect’, and ‘unpardonable’ healthcare crisis in Saint Lucia.
Former prime minister Stephenson King reminiscent of his thought process described the current situation with St Jude hospital in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the hospital fire, September 9, 2019, as ‘unpardonable’ and expressed his feelings as ‘painful’.
“To know that despite all the pain and suffering of workers, the families who lost loved ones and the experience of the night of the fire. I was present on that night and the decisions that were made to relocate the operations of the hospital to the comprehensive school and then to the stadium. I believe that ten years later the fact that we have failed to deliver to the people of Saint Lucia a proper facility to replace the burnt-out facility or to redevelop the existing facility is ‘unpardonable’,” King said.
King in his current capacity as minister for infrastructure, ports, energy and labor is evidently doomed, even to move a needle complementary to his under-achievement said, “We need to do what is necessary to get the facility going.”
King’s confession continued inadvertently to commitments and assurances of the Allen Chastanet led administration and other senior Cabinet colleagues.
“We have received the resources,” he said. “We have received from the Republic of China (Taiwan) additional resources for the redevelopment of the facility.”
King’s desire for absolution uttered shamefully, “We all must take blame for not completing the facility within the ten years.” We all?
King is ostensibly unaware that former chairman of the board of St Jude hospital, Doctor Ulric Mondesir, in September 2017, described the George Odlum National Stadium currently utilized as a hospital is a ‘dungeon of shame.’
Meantime on the tenth anniversary of the St Jude hospital fire, Saint Lucians are still puzzled – why the Chastanet led administration, who campaigned for the completion of the hospital and promised to do so expeditiously in its manifesto, has wittingly and/ or unwittingly abandoned the completion of the hospital and the provision of suitable healthcare and health services in a monophonic tourism economy.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) in observance of the tenth anniversary of St Jude hospital fire and three Saint Lucians who perished argued.
“It is important to underscore that tens of millions of dollars were donated by many foreign governments and Saint Lucians towards the rehabilitation of St Jude hospital. The SLP administered the project for four and a half years and brought it to over 80 percent completion before this ‘corrupt administration’ stopped work for no good reason at all,” following the election on June 6, 2016.
“To abort the completion of the hospital and leave the buildings unattended for more than three years, for no valid reason, is a clear and categorical disregard for the healthcare needs of the Saint Lucian people, particularly the people who reside in the South of the island, while Chastanet and his apostles travel the world luxuriously seeking medical attention.
“The hospital, which was six months away from completion, could have been finished with the loan funds of US$20 million that were made available by the Republic of China (Taiwan),” the SLP stated.
“The SLP is therefore opposed to the government’s borrowing to build a new structure on the St Jude hospital site, without any sensible rationale for doing so and categorically rejects the government’s extravagant and suspicious plans especially in light of no answers to questions posed by the parliamentary representative for Vieux-Fort South on whether this proposed new facility will be a polyclinic or a hospital; and whether the design of the hospital – polyclinic has received full or partial approval from the Development Control Authority, (DCA),” the SLP said.
The SLP issued yet another call to the Chastanet led administration to complete St Jude hospital and stop playing games with healthcare, and that the SLP is aware Saint Lucians are dying daily due to the callous and heartless treatment of healthcare by the Chastanet led administration.
A similar rebuke was made by Doctor Mondesir: “Too many people are dying – there are too many unavoidable deaths taking place.”
In this context, the SLP re-assured Saint Lucians that upon its return to office, “St Jude hospital shall be completed as part of its overall effort to improve the healthcare infrastructure in Saint Lucia.”