2015 is now only a few days old and is now definitely with us.
It is the tradition of most Grenadians to reflect on the past year and to make resolutions for the brand new year that is ahead.
Often times the resolutions are about learning from the mistakes of the past year and committing oneself to avoid any mistake that was made and getting rid of those old habits and to try and chart a new course that will make life much more better and enjoyable for them.
THE NEW TODAY wish all within the space called Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique a most productive and fruitful 2015 and beyond.
If there is any resolution that this paper would like to make is to see the government declare 2015 as the year to fix our myriad of health problems throughout the tri-island state but more so at the St. George’s General Hospital and the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s.
The new Health Minister, Nickolas Steele has his hands already filled with problems that were never seriously tackled or fixed by the previous Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, a medical doctor herself.
There are serious health issues that have been left to fester for too long with no one seemingly committed to giving them serious thought and attention.
The new Minister must be aware by now – although less than a month on the job – that things are very bad at the Princess Alice hospital.
There have been numerous complaints reaching us of patients experiencing difficulties in seeing a doctor at the institution even after waiting for several hours.
In one instance, a family had to turn to a private doctor on the outside to see a patient at the hospital, who had to diagnose the person in order to arrive at a prescription.
It is our information that this private doctor had to interact with a staff member at the hospital on administering the prescribed drugs for the patient. Surely, this is not acceptable.
And the situation at the St. George’s General Hospital is not much better – it might even be worse than at Princess Alice.
The Public Workers Union (PWU) is aware of the massive dissatisfaction among staffers at the hospital and the virtual go-slow that is taking place up there especially among the Junior Doctors.
The new Health Minister needs to address the concerns of the doctors who are not giving full service to patients and are clearly engaged in some form of protest action against their working conditions.
The 2015 Budget has already been passed in Parliament but Minister Steele would have to find the additional monies that are needed to address some of the health problems at the hospital in order to provide the services that the people deserve.
There is talk in some quarters that if one had money then he should go elsewhere for medical care and attention in order to avoid the waiting hands of the Undertaker. It is as simple as that.
Another thorny issue that is raising its head is that of an alleged plan by government to contract out from the hospital the service of meal preparation for patients. This is a subject matter for itself and cannot be fully ventilated by THE NEW TODAY.
The government might just be jeopardising the public purse with its policy of contracting out some of the government services.
There are reports of contracts being given out by the administration to private sector persons and companies who then turn around and hire large numbers of Imanis to do the work for them. And who is paying the salaries of the Imanis – the public purse in the Treasury.
As far as this newspaper is concerned any such policy that is adopted will be defeating the stated objective of the government to cut on Expenditure as part of the Structural Adjustment Programme.
How can the wage bill be lowered if the government is paying the salaries of the Imani workers who are then taken on by those persons given contracts to provide services to the State?
It amounts to a double attack on the public purse – one set of money coming out of the Treasury to pay persons who get these contracts and another set of money from the coffers of the State to pay the salaries of Imani workers who are hired on these projects. This is bordering on corruption.
THE NEW TODAY is suggesting to the rulers in St. George’s that those persons who get contracts from government to provide services for the State must pay the hired Imani workers and not raid the Treasury to make the payments.
Where is the official National Democratic Congress? Are they sleeping on the job? How come their spokespersons on the various subject matters are silent on these burning issues?
There are too many persons associated with Congress who remain docile while in opposition but only become active during the heat of an election as they seek to position themselves for some of the top jobs that might become available if their party managed to win at the polls.
Just as there was regime change in 2013, there needs to be some wholesale changes within Congress and for the adoption of the motto: “Let those who labour hold the reigns”.
If the new NDC leadership fails to understand this simple construct then they will pay a serious price in the next elections.