The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for the removal of Health Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen as the line Minister on the island to prepare the island to deal with Ebola.
In a statement issued to the nation, the party’s Chairman, Dr. George Vincent, a former Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation urged Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to relieve Dr. Modeste-Curwen from the post given her questionable handling of the recent outbreak of the Chik-V virus in Grenada.
Dr. Vincent chided the female government minister for abandoning ship and going on a recent party trip to China at the height of the Chik-V epidemic crisis on the island.
He also called on PM Mitchell to address Grenadians on the level of preparedness of his 20-month old government on the deadly Ebola now sweeping through three West African states.
Following is the statement made by Dr. Vincent on the Ebola issue:
Fellow Grenadians, given the dismal performance of the Government and the Minister of Health in the face on the ChikV outbreak, we the people are understandably very worried about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak.
With our entire system so broken, from the lack of medical supplies and equipment to the incompetence displayed by the Minister, God forbid and we do pray that the deadly Ebola virus does not make its way to our beautiful land.
The National Democratic Congress notes with particular concern, that while other regional and world leaders are taking a direct, hands-on approach to the Ebola threat, and are coming out to personally assure their people that their countries are taking active and urgent steps to keep Ebola out and if introduced, to quickly contain and eliminate it, Prime Minister Mitchell has been deafeningly silent.
Up to now, Dr. Mitchell, who never misses an opportunity to declare his love for the poor people of Grenada, has not come forward to give these people comfort and reassurance that Grenada is ready to take on and beat Ebola if (when) it reaches our shores.
Brothers and sisters, as of now, more than 8,000 people, mainly in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been infected with Ebola and about 70% have died.
The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak to be a “public health emergency” and reported last week that by December as many as 10,000 people per week may be infected. Friends, despite these staggering statistics, and despite the weak state of our healthcare system, the Government continues to be lethargic in its approach to the Ebola threat.
The National Democratic Congress calls on the Prime Minister to assume the lead in dealing with the threat of this scourge, Ebola. We call on the Government to act NOW so that the people of Grenada can rest assured that we will be ready and able if Ebola comes to our shores.
Fellow Citizens, now is not the time for the Prime Minister to be going on vacation and private trips dealing with party business. This is a time when all his energies should be focused on keeping our people safe.
Brothers and sisters, we in the National Democratic Congress believe that working together as a people, we can keep Ebola out of Grenada or contain it in the event that it is introduced here.
We can do this by each of us playing our part in ensuring that established guidelines, protocols and interventions in health and safety and other preventative measures are strictly observed and implemented.
The NDC therefore asks the Government the following questions:
(1) What is the Government’s overall national co-ordination plan in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(2) Has the Government established and trained a rapid response team for the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(3) What is the Government’s plan of action for public education and community engagement in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(4) What is the Government’s plan of action with respect to patients in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(6) What is the Government’s plan for the effective and speedy reporting of new cases across the country in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(7) What systems has the Government put in place to immediately detect all suspicious cases and to trace all persons who were in recent contact with an infected person?
(8) What is the Government’s plan to ensure safe collection, transport and analysis of samples in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
(9) What measures has the Government put in place to ensure that all our ports of entry, including our many marinas, are ready to deal with an Ebola case on arrival?
(10) Is there an allocated budget, and if yes, what is the extent of the budget for national preparedness, response and containment in the event of an Ebola outbreak?
We the people of Grenada are asking these questions. We are anxious about our level of preparedness to deal with this real and imminent threat.
It is time that Prime Minister Mitchell address the nation and tell us about these matters. There is no time to waste on this one. Neither is there time to play politics.
The National Democratic Congress is of the firm belief that our National Health Policy should be geared towards an enhanced quality of life for all, an improved state of health for all, and the maintenance of a state of optimum wellness of the nation.
In this regard and to successfully manage the Ebola threat, the NDC recommends the establishment of a broad-based National Committee on Ebola to establish and implement a plan of action to deal with the threat of an outbreak.
The NDC stands willing to work with the Government and the Grenadian community in establishing and implementing this plan of action.
The National Democratic Congress calls on the Government to consider in this period, the prioritization of our scarce financial and other resources.
While we support meaningful and substantial Constitutional Reform, the National Democratic Congress calls on the Government to consider postponing the National Referendum scheduled for early next year and channelling the allocated funds to ensure that we win the fight against Ebola if we are to face that battle in the near future. The question is, why the rush?
Finally brothers and sisters, given the ineptitude and incompetence displayed by the Minister of Health in the wake of the ChikV virus, the National Democratic Congress is of the strong view that she is not fit to continue to be our Minister of Health. Not in the face of a deadly threat such as Ebola, which can do irrepairable damage if it comes to our shores and we are unprepared.
We therefore call on the Prime Minister to demand the resignation of the Minister of Health now before it is too late!