We, however, prefer to look deeper from the perspective of our country and the message conveyed in his political journey with regards to our health system and the future for young and aspiring politicians.
Can we ignore the presence and exit of Dr. Desmond ‘Pep’ Long from the political scene especially in the wider context of the poor state of our health services? The lessons of his short and unfortunate political career are enlightening and give us a real perspective as to just how our country is being developed in the name of politics.
His quiet nature, huge success and popularity as a calypsonian and role as political sacrificial lamb may well make him our top ‘feel sorry for’ politician in recent times. As we remember his popular calypso ‘from rags to riches’, today his swan song will be ‘from victory to defeat’ for entering and exiting may well be his only two memories of his short and strange political career which he will likely quickly want to forget.
We ever so often hear the cry for more of our young people to take an interest in the development, political or otherwise, of their country but we know our pool of young and upcoming politicians is extremely small due to the fears and perceptions of our kind of politics.
Therefore the few who come must be welcomed and given the opportunity to contribute or serve at the maximum of their potential. We want to be fair and state that when young persons with promise are prepared to make sacrifices and give of their time, energy and talent, professional or otherwise, towards the furtherance of their country it is a shame when their interests and goals are unrecognized and shot down. While we hold no particular brief for ‘Dr. Pep’ we deem him a victim of political expediency! What message then will his sorry episode convey to our well-intentioned and interested young political aspirants?
Our health system has been adrift and it’s no secret that our country is saddled with a Minister who is performing below par in so far as the management of issues relating to health and an inability to achieve operational improvements through key successes, proper patient blood dialysis management being one such.
Has our minister effectively communicated with credible explanations the many delays and shifting dates of the opening of our two hospitals? Has she responded effectively and within time to the many questions on questionable and nightmare incidents, some resulting in deaths, at both Victoria and St. Jude’s? Has any decisive actions been taken that the public is aware of? St. Jude’s is still a deprived facility in many respects.
Her apparent lack of medical information and knowledge is visible, as running a ministry as important as health is a big challenge with major decision making and not just talkie talk and Hollywood. Just look at the increasing number and variety of serious infectious and vector borne diseases continuously posing major problems in our region! While we will not suggest a minister of health must be a medical professional, it is always better and the uniqueness of us having ‘Dr. Pep’ available, together with her poor performance leaves to wonder why he was never appointed minister of health.
So today who will have been the poorer for the non-use of ‘Dr. Pep’s’ professional talents in high office? Well, as usual the people and the country and so we suggest that was the test our Prime Minister failed by not putting the best interest of our health sector first and not heading it with the individual better suited. It is he who has the important responsibility and power in deciding who his cabinet of ministers will be and in that regard then the error would have to be his from his inaction and the failure hers from her nonperformance.
We will end similarly as we started in that ‘Dr. Pep’ was never given the opportunity to serve at the national level in his short, unfortunate political career. But now the deeper issues and fallout will all be hidden by silly spin. ‘Dr. Pep’s’ political story should never again be the fate of promising and talented future, especially young St. Lucians interested in political service.