IT is unfortunate that after more than $100 million has been spent on the reconstruction phase of ill-fated St. Jude Hospital that Saint Lucians now have to settle for the shoulder-shrugging response from politicians. It’s as if – like its namesake — the hospital should be deemed a lost cause, something to move on from.
The cold truth is that Saint Lucians cannot afford to move on from this latest episode of gross mismanagement that has spanned at least three administrations. For eight years now, guarantees have been given to the citizenry by government officials that the doors to the new health facility would have been opened. To date, all that has been delivered are dead promises not even befitting to lie in the morgue.
What is worse, however, is that Saint Lucians are yet to hear what the true picture of the $1 million technical audit has found in relation to how the hospital’s path to recovery has been. Often pricey in nature, these audits never seem to result in people being held accountable let alone making restitution if it turns out that their negligence cost taxpayers and donor agencies a fortune.
For now, the most the citizenry seems to be deserving of is finger-pointing from various principals either associated with or concerned about why a project that was supposed to provide care for the sick has now turned out to be a sickening embarrassment on a catastrophic scale. After millions of dollars spent, it is now being suggested that the hospital is only half complete.
If there is none at the moment, there should be actively-enforced new laws enacted to hold responsible those whose negligence results in failed projects and empty promises to the citizenry. Clearly, though, Saint Lucia is not even halfway there yet. Just last week, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was fired after it was revealed that he used pricey private charter jets for government business.
With the wanton wastage and cover-ups said to be occurring in this country, holding one’s breath in the hope that Parliament convenes to debate the deep extent to which our monies are being misused seems futile. The order of the day seems restricted to convening Parliament so that government borrows more money to run its business while the country bleeds through its nose with the indiscriminate use of said funds.
As bad as the nation’s healthcare system is, the St. Jude Hospital recovery effort seems a terminal case, the result of malpractice on the part of those who misdiagnosed it. Something’s not adding up and the more that remains hidden is the more suspicions will build up.