Letters & Opinion

Open And Honest Discussions Necessary On St. Jude And OKEU Hospital Privatizations

OUR hospitals, as our premier health facilities, are in such a constant state of political drama that those of us who want them to succeed by providing the invaluable medical services the entire country needs, could easily be dragged into the pit of indifference.

We have endured over a decade of this political spectacle, which started from the change of diplomatic ties from China to Taiwan in 2007, the drama at that time over the Owen King European Union Hospital electrical system and the refusal or inability of the Government to complete its agreed share of the construction.

That fuss, however, paled to almost insignificance when compared with the one over the St. Jude Hospital after its fiery destruction in 2009.

Almost every aspect of St. Jude construction has been treated like a never-ending game of political football that everyone agrees has gone too far. Even when issues need only dialogue between stakeholders, politics finds itself in the mix.

The most recent example is the statement by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet that St. Jude and the Owen King hospitals will be privatized.

Granted, this was not the government’s thinking last summer when Health Minister Mary Isaac touted a government/private sector partnership management deal for the hospitals. However, this does not mean that the government cannot review its previous suggestion and, based on expert advice, come up with another plan for the hospitals.

We need to tell ourselves that not every idea thrown out by the government, concerning the hospitals, must be taken down Controversy Road, as it only delays completion of our two treasured health sector assets.

Open and honest discussions are essential at this time regarding the future of our health facilities, something we are sure both the opposition and the government would agree with.

Therefore, instead of only drawing political daggers over the Prime Minister’s announcement, we should instead be asking him to tell us how beneficial that system of management would be.

The Prime Minister should be willing to explain why his administration has decided to go in that direction, instead of the one previously considered.

It is only then we can assimilate his explanation for this approach and comment on its veracity or its practicality.

Until then, we are only throwing obstacles in the path of our hospitals becoming the institutions we so deeply longed for and which we expect to live up to our expectations.

We appeal for caution as we request of the government to expand on its reasons for going the way of privatization. Surely, this is not asking for much as an explanation could go a long way in easing tensions amongst the populace.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

2 Comments

  1. Micah,

    I disagree with your conclusions.

    We should be telling ANY government what we want them do; not the other way around!

  2. Government by the PEOPLE- OF the PEOPLE – FOR the PEOPLE = DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATION of the People’s BEST Interests.

    “Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand.”
    ― Frantz Fanon فرانز فانون, The Wretched of the Earth

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