What a Colossal Shame!

8 Feb

If what is being reported in the Stabroek News, February 6, 2010, that the Government of Barbados ( NOT BARBADOS ) has turned down a request by the US Embassy ( Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean ) to accomodate a small number of Haitians injured in that massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked and ravaged Haiti on January 12 th, is true and accurate, then believe it, Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, who particular comments were attributed to in this same on line news story, must be condemned in the strongest terms for bringing, what we believe, is a great amount of ridicule and embarrassment to our country as a result of some things she was reported to have said in the said and other news mediums.

Ms. McClean, first of all, should never have been reported in that story as speaking on such matters that clearly falls within the purview of the Minister of Health in Barbados, or even the Prime Minister of Barbados as head of the Cabinet.

We in the People’s Democratic Congress ( PDC) think therefore that it was very insensitive and ridiculous and smacked of arrogance and as being out of place for Ms. McClean to have been reported to have been speaking, and in the manner in which she spoke, to matters that essentially fall outside her purview. In this regard, it is surely no excuse for any one to say that some Ministers of Government in Barbados have already done the same.

Furthermore, an incisive analysis of some of what she was reported to have said would clearly show that the Minister for Foreign Affairs should have easily deferred to the Health Minister Donville Inniss on such a matter of the Government of Barbados being asked by the said US Embassy to accommodate some of our Haitian brothers and sisters.

For instance, this Minister was reported to have uttered ( from the same Stabroek on line story): “As we all know ( Who?) we are currently struggling ( who like hell?) to bring our health care system back to the desired levels of capacity and service delivery and therefore I do not anticipate that such a request can be honoured as articulated, because we have first and foremost to ENSURE that we are able to meet the demands” ( a kinda putting the cart before the horse mentality too).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs must be told in no uncertain terms that so-called bringing Barbados’s health care system BACK TO THE DESIRED LEVELS OF CAPACITY AND SERVICE DELIVERY has nothing to do with bringing critically injured, sick and dying Haitian sisters and brothers here in Barbados BUT HAS VERY MUCH TO DO WITH PROPERLY RECTIFYING SOME DLP AND BLP GROSS AND RECKLESS MISMANAGEMENT OF THE MANY OF THE FINANCES, RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN BARBADOS. What does making polyclinics in Barbados more efficient and opening up them for longer hours have to do with accommodating some very unfortunate Haitians? What does making sure that that all the operating theatres at the QEH are working have to do with bringing in those Haitians?

Too, could any one in their right senses believe that this minister was speaking against the backdrop of Haiti being ravaged by that earthquake, with over a hundred and fifty thousand people killed, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands more injured, millions of Haitians displaced and homeless, roads and streets badly damaged, with water, electricity and telecommunications services entirely disrupted – and many damn hospitals and clinics destroyed and some doctors and nurses having lost their lives too?

Who in their right minds would think that the Minister was speaking against the backdrop of an ongoing emergency, relief and humanitarian crisis in Haiti still?

Who in their right darn senses would believe that the Minister of Foreign Affairs – seen in the Stabroek news story to be really lacking in diplomatic skills – would appear to be acting as if the Government of Barbados has already – since the earthquake – given accommodated medical assistance to our Haitian brothers and sisters before?

Furthermore, she was reported to have said: “We all know ( who again is she talking about – what a presumption!!)the situation with beds and whether its in general wards or the surgical intensive care Unit ( drooling on and on and on and lacking in substance, is not she?) and therefore the truth is ( and she appears to come to her senses but she has not), we simply are not in a position to provide that support at this time because we are not talking about a short-term minor situation….. we are talking about serious care, which we are PROBABLY not able to deliver in Barbados ( what of substance did she really say there, oh how redundant).”

How in this world the Minister of Foreign Affairs could be reported as being so out of depth on the substance of the matter is so unbelievable – she does NOT even provide any cost statistics on the money and resources and professionals it would take to accomodate at least twenty critically injured, sick, dying Haitians, and yet could be so misleadingly emphatic that the Government of Barbados is PROBABLY not able to deliver such care to a small number of injured, sick and dying Haitians, is really monstrously ironic symptomatic of the heartlessness and unconscionable behaviour of a government that says, hey, a field hospital in Haiti is definitely what is required – and with Barbados’ continued participation in it – but at the same time it rejects a request to accommodate some Haitians in a case where it would cost just as much or less as Barbados’ participation in that field hospital as it would to accomodate here some of our Haitian brothers and sisters in, say, that part of the old General Hospital which was partly recently refurbished by the former BLP Government and which was said by the then said BLP Government to be used as an emergency facility for the 2007 Cricket World Cup

Clearly our party would think that there was nothing in the story that suggested that the Minister does NOT know that Haiti still needs help in what ever ways possible, and esp. since the Prime Minister was reported to have said that medical services are of the highest priority in relationship to the earthquake in Haiti ( Advocate Saturday, January 16, 2010), and, therefore, as a consequence it could only be construed by our party that the Minister of Foreign affairs and by extension the Government of Barbados have failed in their moral duty to make sure that a small number of suffering Haitians who are in dire in need of medical humanitarian care are provided for here in Barbados.

What a colossal shame!!



5 Responses to “What a Colossal Shame!”

  1. Philip February 10, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    I was surprised that the Government took this position. I believe even if we had taken a small number it would have helped. I do not think that Barbados was required to take a number of people that would overwhelm our institutions. I suspect however this is a situation of what they thought would be popular amongst Barbadians. Leaders must lead and set an example.

  2. Allegiance February 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    You might recall our article on Barbados’ foreign policy and whether Barbados would develop a long term relationship with Haiti. (Other than the CARICOM relationship) Arguably it would take some time to develop that policy but now would be a good time to start putting that long term relationship in place. This could have been a good opportunity and as Philip says the numbers did not have to be such that they would overwhelm our health care.

  3. Albert February 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Allegiance? And you letting the Charge D’Afffaires at the US embassy in Barbados determine what is feasible for Barbados. The same US that stopped a Caricom Team of leaders from landing in Haiti? The same US that one had dominio over Haiti – and did what?

    Do you know why the US is trying to shame the region into doing something for Haiti? Why don’t you think it through before publishing it?

    • Allegiance February 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

      Our view of Barbados’ future relationship with Haiti was articulated before this story was published. It was formulated outside the context of a USA position.

  4. Cassandra March 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    AWWW.. BUT SAD SOOSOOOO SAD MY MOM SENT IN 15,000 dollars to help

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