FOR many people in communities in Cedros, the arrival in September of the US Navy hospital vessel Comfort (T-AH 20) is for them, their best opportunity to access basic medical care.
Citing the exorbitant price of gas as the reason for many fishermen turning away from the sea, Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said many people cannot afford to go to a private doctor and the waiting time in the public health service, for basic medical services, could be in the months.
As such, many in Cedros are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the hospital ship which will arrive in the first week of September. "This ship is expected to dock at the La Brea international port for about 14 days," Teelucksingh said.
He claimed that La Brea MP Nicole Olivierre is engaged in a public relations exercise by asking people to register to get medical attention on board the US ship and made it clear that all members of the public can access services and not just only constituents from La Brea. This includes Venezuelans migrants.
Medical experts on this ship will perform surgeries as well as provide basic medical services free of charge. According to the US Embassy, the visit to Trinidad is part of the ship’s five-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean on a medical assistance mission.
The embassy said the US is committed to collaboration with regional partner countries in the areas of medical assistance and disaster relief. The medical services provided are part of the US's effort at deepening engagement in the region in keeping with the mandate of the US-Caribbean 2020 Strategy.
The ship is also expected to dock at ports in Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis during this five-month deployment.
On the issue of the UNC's ongoing screening of candidates for the local government elections, due at the end of this year, Teelucksingh said screening continues today in Siparia and Point Fortin.
The UNC councillor said party activists are hosting cottage meetings not only on the general election but to have pre-budget discussions. "Feedback from these meetings could form part of the Opposition's response in the House to the government's budget. We are hoping that the government give allocations for the Cedros cremation site as well disburse funds for a proposed boardwalk to push tourism in Cedros," he said.