Speaking at the Monday Night Forum of the UNC in Fyzabad, MP for the area Dr Lackram Bodoe said the issue of $20 million worth of equipment stolen from Petrotrin sites showed the failure of the government to protect state assets.
“They rub salt in your wounds,” he charged, saying after the closure of Petrotrin the government could not protect its assets.
These assets stolen from the Fyzabad Petrotrin sSite, he said, belong to the taxpayers, and he trusts that the same is not happening with the valuable medical equipment at the Augustus Long Hospital and other Petrotrin medical facilities
As a health professional and former chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority, he said it was sad to witness the present state of the health sector. It is on the verge of collapse, he said, and this is overseen by a minister who likes to make pronouncements as if he were a doctor.
“Health Minister Deyalsingh wants you to believe that you are receiving better healthcare than ever, but it not so, as you are the ones spending long hours with your loved ones every day in the nation’s hospitals, and then waiting for days on end to get a bed for them,” he said.
Health facilities, he said, are lacking basic drugs and patients are waiting for months for cataract surgery, with many having to pay for eye injections privately, while many outpatients cannot access ultrasound, CT and MRI scans and resort to paying privately for them.
The rebuilding of the central block at Port of Spain General Hospital has taken 400 beds out of the system, but Deyalsingh, he said, will not use the 230 beds at the Couva Hospital.
“Instead he will force those of you who live in the north and west to travel to Mt Hope and San Fernando to join the already long queues waiting for treatment.”
Bodoe said the government promised new hospitals in Point Fortin, Sangre Grande, and Arima while a completed hospital lay idle for more than three years in Couva.
“This is the politics of spite, as the only reason you have not been able to enjoy the modern, state of the science facility in Couva is because Kamla and the People’s Partnership Government built it,” he charged.
Bodoe said the Health Minister had been quoted as saying in Parliament, "If you do not have the application training for those pieces of equipment, do you know what could have happened to a patient? They could have been overradiated and die, get radiation burns, or they could have been underradiated and their tumours would grow; but you also opened the State and the taxpayer to hundreds of millions of dollars in liability."
“This excuse is more than being absurd, (it) is preposterous and malicious,” Bodoe said.
He denied the PP put patients at risk of radiation injury.
“Applications training takes a week and comes as part of your purchase agreement when you buy such equipment.”
He said. Deyalsingh tries to justify to taxpayers why he has allowed such "state-of-the-science" equipment to lie idle while people waited and suffered. Deyalsingh, he said, continues to oversee and justify incompetence.
In the last year of this Rowley-led PNM administration, Bodoe said, its legacy will be that it made the lives of citizens harder, criminals are running rampant, tens of thousands of people are without work, the health sector is in critical condition, and the education sector is in shambles, and roads, bridges and drains destroyed.