The combative Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele is once again at the centre of another controversy.
Mr. Steele has found himself at odds with the Grenada Nursing Association (GNA) for jumping the gun on the recent deaths of three babies at the St. George’s General Hospital.
The President of the nursing body quite rightly took offences to statements made by the minister, which sent out the message that the doctors and nursing staff at the hospital should be held accountable and responsible for the deaths.
As THE NEW TODAY understands it, the issue is not whether one, two, or three babies had died but the fingering by Minister Steele of the Hospital Staff and holding them responsible for what happened.
The Health Minister clearly reached a pre-mature conclusion on the issue even without an autopsy being done to ascertain the cause of those unfortunate deaths.
Mr. Steele has now become the Chief spokesman for the ruling New National Party (NNP) government at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefings at the Ministerial Complex.
He seems to have the full and total confidence of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as Senator Winston Garraway who was often a regular at these press conferences, is now a mere shadow of himself.
Mr. Steele, a former national scholar, is not helping the NNP cause in some quarters, as he often tries to overpower his opponents through the so-called “academic brilliance” route.
The minister is seemingly forgetting that most Grenadians are intelligent and quite rightfully or wrongfully believe that they have Doctorates in Commonsense.
Mr. Steele came into government back in 2013 as the great hope for the so-called Bourgeois class that already controlled the financial purse of the nation and was looking to see one of their own get involved in frontline politics on the national stage.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that the Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George sees himself as a future Prime Minister of the country.
Mr. Steele was given the very prestigious post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Business and was often more out of the country on overseas business for government.
However, along the way the Prime Minister was forced to remove Mr. Steele from Foreign Affairs and sent him to the Ministry of Health.
This took place after the diplomatic embarrassment, which the former Foreign Affairs Minister caused this country in his efforts to get China to appoint some passport-selling agents to obtain diplomatic positions in Hong Kong.
A first year university student would have known that Mr. Steele ought to have sent his letter to the relevant authorities in Beijing to seek the appointments as Hong Kong is under Chinese control.
However, Minister Steele did not check with his Protocol Staff in the Ministry of Finance and sent his “confidential” letter to the Hong Kong administration that had to remind him that the letter was sent to the wrong address and that the issue of the appointment of diplomats was a matter for China.
The issue with the three babies is giving the impression that at times Mr. Steele is on a solo mission and not engaged in consultation and dialogue with those who can offer him proper guidance.
Who advised him to make the statements on the deaths of the babies without an autopsy being conducted on the infants?
How did he arrive at the conclusion that the Hospital Staff and “the system” failed the families who lost their young ones?
In England and other developed countries with access to better Health Care facilities and Equipment there are deaths from time to time among babies.
Is that reason to conclude that “the system” has failed the British people?
Mr. Steele was appointed to the post of Minister of Health to provide the leadership in the portfolio.
If the system has failed then it is the Minister’s system that failed us and he should take full responsibility.
Is this enough reason for Mr. Steele to quit as Minister of Health and provide the Prime Minister with an opportunity to appoint another person more capable of giving the Health portfolio the leadership that is needed?