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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Good Morning to you, my fellow countrymen and women.
I speak today with unbridled concern for our crisis laden homeland, which Mr. Allen Chastanet, whether deliberate or inadvertent, seems hell bent on privatizing to the detriment of Saint Lucians.
From June 6th 2016, Mr. Allen Chastanet seems more interested in delivering to vested foreign interests rather than improving service delivery to the people of Saint Lucia. Our Party, which when in government, makes health care and education integral parts of how our Socirty should be organized, is appalled by this Government’s reckless handling of our education and health care sectors.
Two glaring examples are; the stoppage of the Saint Jude Hospital reconstruction project and the reckless manner in which the Beanfield Secondary School matter is being handled by this government.
Despite finding the Saint Jude Hospital’s super structure completed, Mr. Allen Chastanet has refused to do the finishing work required to transfer the Hospital staff and patients from the George Odlum Stadium back to the St. Jude Hospital, which could have been accomplished by December 31st 2016.
Instead of listening to the urgency of the concerns being expressed by the Labour Party, along with many groups and individuals from all walks of life, the UWP Government has taken to calling the Labour Party “terrorists”. Some of the voices asking for consultation and good sense on our healthcare situation include those of the professionals most closely associated with the sector. Are they also all terrorists?
We are satisfied with the various reports coming from professional engineers and architects that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the reconstruction of the Saint Jude Hospital.
The unwillingness of the UWP Government to dialogue with the general public in this regard confirms the government’s inability to defend the stoppage of the Saint Jude Reconstruction Project. Further, all efforts by the government to mislead the Saint Lucian public into believing that there is something wrong with the reconstruction Project are being frustrated by the truth emanating from the independent assessments and reports of suitably qualified engineers and architects. No amount of propaganda stunts such as open day for the UWP constituency groups to tour the Saint Jude Hospital Reconstruction site will deter the general public from clamouring for the completion of the Saint Jude Hospital.
Hence, there is a pressing need to urgently complete the Saint Jude Hospital as the George Odlum Stadium is unfit and extravagantly dangerous for the housing of the said hospital for the following reasons:
– We were conscious of the fact the Stadium is not a hospital, but a camping site for the staff and patients;
– According to WHO; Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities are fundamental for the provision of quality people-Centred care;
– In developed countries, according to WHO, 1 in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care and the stadium in no way provides anything close to the facilities of a hospital;
– This compromises the ability of the doctors and nurses to provide safe and quality care and places both those providing and those seeking care at considerable risk;
– Besides the Stadium is falling apart – it is a physically threatening and life-threatening environment;
– Further, medical equipment that could assist medical staff with diagnosis are either in boxes or power fluctuations at the stadium preclude their use. but this United Wicked Party does not care about the people of the south, whether they live or die;
– The Stadium cannot withstand maximum sustained winds of a Category 5 Hurricane; the Saint Jude Hospital was built to military standards;
– We have repeatedly called upon Allen Chastanet to complete the Saint Jude Hospital ahead of the 2018 Hurricane season;
Another Hurricane season is fast approaching and we cannot be guaranteed that we shall be spared a major hurricane; get our people out of this death trap stadium.
We have repeatedly asked Mr. Allen Chastanet to complete the Hospital now so lives could be saved.
Our concerns, if addressed, would create an improved framework for saving lives at the Saint Jude Hospital; not at the Stadium. Hence, the opposition issues the final call for sanity. We are calling upon the Allen Chastanet led UWP administration to stop playing petty politics with the Saint Jude Reconstruction Project, and complete the Hospital so that our doctors, nurses, staff and patients at the George Odlum Stadium could finally operate and recuperate in a safe environment. Because, while for the past two years the government has stopped the Saint Jude Reconstruction project the quality of health care continues to deteriorate day-by-day.
Spending $12 million to provide relief at the Stadium is not a substitute for the urgent need to move the patients and staff out of this camping site.
Mr. Allen Chastanet seems to have lost all semblances of sound judgement and the temperament to continue to occupy the responsible and delicate position of Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. Additionally the silence of most members of Cabinet in the face of such recklessness raises doubts about the legitimacy of the present crop of UWPs to continue to govern this country.
Instead, of being the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia to improve the lot of the Saint Lucian people, Mr. Chastanet seems hell-bent on entering into all sorts of deals with foreigners to acquire public assets such as our hospitals, which were built largely by grant funding received from our development partners and other friendly governments to assist Saint Lucia’s development.
Let me make it unmistakably clear that we are going to pursue the full spectrum of possible political remedies available to us in a democratic setting to ensure that the Saint Jude Hospital is completed urgently to save the lives of our fellow Saint Lucians, especially those in the Southern part of the island that are more dependent on this Health care facility.
In unhesitating obedience to what we embrace as our constitutional duty the Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party will:
– Continue to mobilize the majority of Saint Lucians to ensure we exercise our right carefully by electing the right kind of leaders to lead us; leaders who have a vision and the interests of Saint Lucia at heart;
– Continue to promote the principle of public participation as a way of enhancing citizens’ participation in governance;
– Continue to advocate the upholding of the principles of accountability and transparency for the purposes of good governance in our country;
– Continue to uphold the laws of the country, respect its constitution; encourage peaceful coexistence, harmony and mutuality; and
– Continue to explore new ways to encourage Saint Lucians to be more nationalistic in our thinking if we are to move forward as a nation.
The Opposition is calling on all social partners to use all available legal means and channels to encourage good sense from the members of our government. Our failure to do so may well contribute to the accelerated decline of our health services and cost the lives of friends, family and countrymen.
The other burning issue is education; not only that the quality of health care is being compromised; education has also taken a nose dive under this administration and in this regard, I called at this juncture our spokesperson on education to address you on this extremely important issue.
I thank you.