St. Vincent & the Grenadines Green Party

Articles

Fri 28th Jan 2022

SVG needs better health facilities

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The health service is falling apart and is under-funded. When Gonsalves needs serious hospital treatment, we’ve seen him jump on a plane and fly abroad for treatment. For the poor of SVG, this is not an option. It is a sick mindset whereby a government burdens the poor to support the country and lets the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan live a life of tax-free luxury.

There is a serious shortage of revenue in SVG, but Gonsalves still gives multi-million dollar blanket tax and customs duty exemptions to the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan. In this time of Covid-19, it is more important than ever that our people have access to good and free hospitals and health centres.

Gonsalves' economic policy of begging and borrowing is not sustainable and is turning SVG into Haiti. There has to be a positive change in our mindset, so that we put the people of SVG first, especially the poor. We need a Green economy to create jobs and prosperity for all.

We need to create revenue for the country so that we have a proper, free national health service. We cannot have people dying or suffering ill health, just because their wallet is empty.

In the Budget Estimates, expenditure for health is always very little. Clearly, the nation's health service is being starved by Gonsalves.

The health system should be free, especially for poor people. For some of the poor, they are forced to go out on to the street, in a state of ill-health, and beg people for money for medicines. This is an appalling state of affairs and disrespectful to all Vincentians.

We must provide a suitable medical care system for SVG citizens. How can the poor be expected to earn money to feed their families, if there are no jobs and they must spend their limited finances on medicines? This is unacceptable and immoral.

Only spending a few dollars per year to cover a person’s health and medical needs is not enough by the ULP regime. Our health centres and facilities need to be modernised. We need more doctors and nurses in SVG, and all health services such as dentists, opticians, medicines, hearing tests, physiotherapy, etc, need to be free. SVG needs a healthy population to have a working and industrious population.

Having poor health can lead to an inability to work, income loss and an inability to support one’s family. Having a high number of people who are unwell can affect a country’s overall productive capacity and it is also likely to adversely affect a nation's development prospects.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, says that long-term underfunding of health facilities in SVG by the ULP regime has been very bad for our people and our country. Spending on a few percent of the budget on health is an insult to the people of SVG. It creates more hardship than it solves, as the country creates less revenue than it should do and wastes money paying interest on unnecessary loans.

Public finances should be invested in creating a healthy population. A Green government would invest substantially more in health. We would build more hospitals and health centres. We must be better equipped to deal with pandemics and other national health issues.

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