Letters & Opinion

A Guilty Conscience Needs No Accuser

By Germaine St Juste
Image of a section of the unfinished St. Jude Hospital. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)

SCARE tactics can sometimes achieve their purpose; but only when their target is vulnerable. Consider the flip-flopping of the President of the Medical and Dental Association. Only four months ago he accompanied a group of interested citizens on a walkabout at the St. Jude Hospital site. Afterward he said quite emphatically that “something has gone horribly wrong!” This week the same MDA president, accompanied by an architect, following another walkabout at the hospital site, sang in harmony with those responsible for the hospital structure that the government’s advisors have declared incomplete and below par. Suddenly, the MDA president and his membership are demanding the government continue the incomplete and suspect work. What brought about the change of heart? After all, nothing new has happened at St. Jude.

Can the President of the Medical and Dental Association provide the nation with any form of statistics on the loss of life at the various hospitals between 2011-2016 in order that the public can make a judgement call of his latest bulletin? The current PM inherited a treasury devoid of treasure and a 9500 public sector employees with an annual payroll of $450million. A finance minister is obligated, first to protect the livelihood of the 9500 public servants and pensioners who serve and have served the nation, but he must also act prudently before embarking on a project that already has gobbled up $180million of state funds. He must avoid at all cost repeating the mistakes of his predecessors.

The MDA President should keep the above in mind. He should also remember he is a medical practitioner, not an officer of the Ministry of Finance or, for that matter, an expert in the field of hospital construction. He would be more credible speaking on matters of health and medicine—not the same as medical facilities! The current administration has a number of qualified individuals within the prime minister’s Cabinet and the public sector, who are responsible for the operations of the state. It is a great pity that Mr. Mark Hennecart, who is connected to an architectural firm with close ties to the former administration, kept to himself his opinions on the construction of St. Jude until this week, so far as I can tell. The former PM made it abundantly clear when he assumed office in 1997 with a 16-1 mandate that politicians must and will remain accountable for public funds as the rule of law must be observed, consequently, what has transpired at St. Jude today should not be allowed to go unnoticed.

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