St Lucia opposition leader warns, ‘no conditionalities’ for St Jude site visit

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Opposition Leader, Philip J Pierre, in a teachable moment

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Saint Lucia’s opposition leader Philip J Pierre, in response to the minister of economic development, Guy Joseph, incredulous letter, that effectively suppresses clearance to visit St Jude Hospital Renovation Project (SJHRP); Pierre warns, that the opposition will not consent to conditionalities for a site visit at SJHRP.

The opposition leader further stated: “The minister’s reply has on the one hand ‘declared his commitment to acceding to the request’ but has also ‘stated certain conditions that must first be in place for this to happen.’”

St Lucia’s economic minister suppresses opposition clearance to visit St Jude hospital renovations

With such a letter from economic minister Joseph, purportedly of high importance but not beyond the import of self-preservation – is no less, burdened with ineptitude and misconception.

In a press release Saturday, leader of the opposition, Pierre, point out that the government is in possession of the handover report for SJHRP from the project consultant as dating back to August 2016. As well as the report of a technical audit which the government commissioned in 2016 and received in January 2017.

There should therefore not be any conditionalities for a visit to the site by the official opposition or any citizen for that matter,” Pierre warned.

In repose to minister Joseph’s ‘risk and compliance to SJHRP,’ the opposition leader also stated: “ The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has never wavered in its commitment to delivering a first-class hospital to the people of the South of the country as demonstrated by the fact that it did not abandon the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project (SJHRP) that it inherited from the previous United Workers Party (UWP) administration but continued working to bring the project to within 6 to 12 months of completion when it demitted office, and neither has it ceased calling upon the government to complete the project.”

Aside from the government of Saint Lucia, fondness to placate that “we are a resilient nation’ – expressed last month that: “ National Health Sector Policy will be promoted, paving the way for a health care system that is accessible, affordable, equitable, sustainable and of the highest international quality standard. Similar attention will be given to the National Human Resources for Health Policy that will guide and influence decisions of both public and private sector health organisations relating to strategic human resource initiatives and investments.”

Last November, Continuing the UHC plan, Pierre added:

“Heath and wellness Centres around the island were either improved and new ones constructed. St Jude hospital re-development was nearing completion and the Owen King European Union (OKEU) hospital was in an advanced stage of being commissioned.”

“Regrettably, the UWP administration stopped St Jude re-development and OKEU commissioning only to reconfigured OKEU with the intent of private enterprise. However, COVID-19 forced the UWP government hands, that now constitutes a mix and match OKEU health system. The SLP leader continues to express disappointment with the health care system in Saint Lucia, referring in particular to the island’s two major hospitals.

“The state of health care in Saint Lucia remains a source of concern and disappointment, in particular the lack of progress at the St Jude hospital, which is no closer to completion than it was four and a half years ago. Upon coming into office, a labour government will waste no time in having St Jude hospital completed. Too much time and resources have been spent on this project. The people of Saint Lucia, particularly the residents of the south, deserve better,” the political leader said.

It is reasonable to state that Saint Lucia’s health system is in crisis. Addressing St Lucia’s 42nd anniversary of independence: Facing our greatest challenges, Pierre cautioned:

In this COVID-19 battle, we should put people before profits, lives before livelihoods and health before wealth. The challenge of COVID-19 has forcefully reminded us of the need for a first-class health care system that is accessible and affordable to all. This is why Universal Health Care will be a topmost priority for an SLP government.

Meanwhile, Pierre reaffirmed: “The SLP’s appreciation to the medical staff at St Jude for their tremendous contribution to the health care of their patients and restates its own pledge to always put the welfare and needs of the people of Saint Lucia first.”

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