Governor General visits Owen King EU Hospital

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Governor General visits Owen King EU Hospital

61e48a87-4063-41ce-9dba-58b73f6c99a8PRESS RELEASE – On Wednesday February 10th the Governor General of Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, received a personal tour of the New National Hospital, soon to be known as the Owen King EU Hospital at the official naming ceremony on Sunday February 21st.

The naming of the hospital forms part of the activities marking Saint Lucia’s 37th Anniversary of Independence.

At the commencement of the tour the Governor General was presented with copy of the 2016 Millennium Heights Medical Complex Calendar by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Conitha Thomas who was among a team of officials from the Ministry present to receive the Governor General.

The nearly two hour, shortened, tour of the facility allowed Dame Pearlette to see first-hand some of the key areas within the new hospital which are not present or significantly improved when compared to the Victoria Hospital. Areas such as the Pediatric Ward, Special Baby Care Unit, Central Sterilization Services Department, Physiotherapy Department, the state of the art Operating Theatres, Expanded A&E Department, Radiology equipped with the latest technology such as mammography and MRI equipment, the Intensive Care Unit among other areas.

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“Very impressive” was how the Governor General described the facility at the end of the tour. She noted her pleasure in being invited to this tour which ended her speculation of what the structure would look like and the type of equipment within it.

“It is a very impressive building and my fervent hope is that we keep it as functional as it is and as anticipated. I can look and see that it is an expensive undertaking but just to keep it running it’s going to be as expensive I suspect. Everybody I met the nurses were very excited and I made the point the them, I said I hope in the next year or two you are as excited as you are today and they all promised that they would be and they are really looking forward to it. So I am glad I had that opportunity and I can say to the whole of Saint Lucia and the region that we have indeed a first class health facility.”

Dame Pealette added that she has been to other facilities in some developed countries and the New National Hospital in her view ranks right allow side the best of them. “My fervent hope really is that we can keep it and maintain it and deliver the type of healthcare that that we all deserve.”

Commissioning Director for the New National Hospital, Dwight Calixte said, the tour by the Governor General marks the next phase of public awareness for the hospital. Moving forward grouping such as Staff Associations, the Chamber of Commerce, Schools round the island, the Medical and Dental Association and the media will be invited to tour the facility to get a first-hand view of the offering of the new hospital.

“We must stop looking at this as a Ministry of Health thing this is a national thing and we want to encourage persons to come in at the appropriate time and we are going to bring them around and let them see this facility. The Governor General did indicate that this is second to none and it actually is and over the period of time we will let person see that. Until then we are going to manage the flow because we want to ensure that the facility remains intact before the opening.” Calixte stated.

Calixte also spoke about some of the procurement procedures with regards to the timing in bring in some key pieces of equipment particularly the dialysis units which he says are not yet on island. The new state-of-the-art Dialysis Unit was also among the areas visited by the Governor General.

“It has to do with quality of service. Right now we have no dialysis machines because these machines must be brought in just in-time. So they must go into use once the reach and right now the facility is going through testing. If we engage in commissioning something like this at this point in time there is going to be a risk to our patients. Risk to the quality of service that we offer” Calixte highlighted.

He stated that the machines will be brought in one or two months after the entire system has been tested which includes the water and electrical systems. Only then can the dialysis units be commissioned. “It has to do with the quality of service that we provide and ensuring patient safety, which is the number one priority at this point in time.” Caxite explained.

The European Union funded both the construction and equipping of the Owen King EU Hospital, an ultra-modern treatment and care facility to the tune of $167 million Eastern Caribbean dollars. The new hospital is the largest infrastructural project ever executed by the European Union in the Eastern Caribbean.

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  1. This new hospital is about to be opened and will be called the Owen King EU hospital. While the people and government of St Lucia should be grateful for this health institution which was mainly funded by the European Union, the question that needs to be asked is: Why name it after Owen King? If my memory serves me right Owen King was a relic of St Lucia's colonial past. He may have served the interests of the country well in his capacity as a GP, but there are many others who did the same. Why are they being ignored in favour of an old colonial? St Lucia has produced many doctors whose contributions to our health care system has been immense. Nothing is being written about them nor are they being given a mention.

    The naming of this hospital smacks of nepotism. In this country, we are not concerned about the plight and concerns of the many but rather of the few who did little to push our splendid isle forward. The vast majority of the population worked hard to ensure that St Lucia is where it is today and instead of honouring our hard-working people we are rather bestowing accolades on people whose ethnic origins belongs to our brutal colonial past. We need to move forward in this country. We need to give credit to those who bravely fought to defend our country from the evil of past brutality and unrelenting colonialism. St Lucia does not need to be reminded of the inhumane and harsh treatment meted out to her brave citizens by people of her tiny minority and their descendants. We need to move on from that era in order to find solace and redemption. We may never find it totally but we need to start somewhere.

    St Lucia is a sovereign state and like all independent states, she needs to live up to what is expected of her as a self-determined nation. I am assuming that the EU may have given most of the funds to help bring about the creation of this hospital to fruition. The EU helps lots of other impoverish states with any number of projects and there is hardly anything emblazoned with the letter EU on top of it. If someone or an organization helps you then you need to be thankful. You do so by writing a letter of appreciation. You do not necessarily have to engrave letters on a sign-post to show-off what your subjugators have done for you. A simple thank you letter would do nicely. Say no more.

    We need to stop cowering to people. We seem to be very good at doing that in the Caribbean. We cower to the very people who took us for granted and who gave our ancestors a pasting in order to build their empires and help restore their economies. Projects like these are long overdue. The EU and the UK in particular need to atone for the sins of their colonial past. The Caribbean especially helped build the UK and Europe. We must work with them to help identify projects to make up for the past injustices we suffered at their hands. They need to make up for it since they have never said sorry and is unlikely to say sorry for their inglorious past treatment of our folks. We need to behave like free people and stop deluding ourselves into thinking that they are doing us a favour by building us a hospital. It's a good gesture as we need proper healthcare in the island but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that they did this because they care about us. They did this because they have the funds available to do so and after very skillful negotiations with the government of St Lucia. They deserve some credit as well.They are striving to put right the wrongs of the past.

    I can think of many doctors whom this hospital could be named after. There are a few ministers of health who served this country well who could also have this health institution named after them. The powers that be elected to go for a man who is no longer around and whose heritage belongs to our opprobrious past. What is wrong with us in this country? Like Minister Louis Farrakhan would say 'We are living in the present time but our actions belong to the past' That is exactly what we are doing in St Lucia. We are not speaking correctly as there's no verb and subject agreement..and we wonder why we are not being successful. It is simply because our actions belong to the past. We need to put the past behind us and move on St Lucia.

    Apart from doctors and ministers of health, there are countless other prominent St Lucians who could have their names emblazoned on the walls of this hospital. These people are just as important as this great doctor. Don't get me wrong the good doctor may well have done miracles for our country and for that we need to commend him and, if possible, offer him a posthumous award but the idea that this hospital should be named after him is preposterous and opportunistic. Doing that sends the wrong message.It is saying that we have nobody capable in this country or competent enough to have this institution named after. There are endless born and bred Lucians who could be in the reckoning but time and time again we fail them in this country. We would much prefer to go for blonde blue eyes individuals who do not share our common values as St Lucians.Why do we continually do this St Lucia?

    This hospital will cater to the needs of our fast growing population. Healthcare in the Caribbean is very costly and we urgently need a good healthcare system in place to help nurse our unhealthy and sick back to good health.The state needs to train and to employ new doctors and nurses. The hospital will need modern equipment and drugs for it's patients. The cost of running this hospital should come from the public purse. If it means we need to pay more in taxes then so be it. Let's pay a bit more so our taxes can help maintain this facility which is vital to the health of our nation. St Lucia needs it. It's imperative that we have it and we do our utmost to ensure that it is always functioning.

    The accident and emergency rooms should be fully functioning at all times. The nurses should always employ a very good attitude towards the patients. This goes to the doctors as well.Leave your sentiments, politics and dramas outside. You are paid to treat people who need medical attention. Give them your best.

    While I am applauding the government and people of St Lucia for this great achievement, I would like to take this opportunity to implore them to consider changing the name of this very important health facility from what it is now to a name that truly represents the people of this country and those who fought to defend it from tyranny oppression and injustice. The brave foot soldiers who took the liberty of going that extra mile to help fight for the freedoms that we are enjoying today. They are the real heroes of our country and we should choose one of our unsung heroes to name the hospital after. There's endless to choose from. We need to stop repeating the sins of our painful past. Common St Lucia you can do better than that.Let us look to the future and to give credit to our courageous men and women from the majority whose selfless acts of kindness and compassion got us to where we are today. Remember them.

    Remember what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly, It is dearness only that gives everything it's value.
    Wake Up St Lucia! Wake up My People!
    Big Up The Land Of My Beautiful mother!!

    Malcolm L'Overture
    Haitian - Lucian
    Berlin Germany

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