CARICOM Leaders Making Sport At The Health Of Our People~Chronic Non-communicable Diseases On The Rise In The Caribbean

In other parts of the world, bullets, the sword, or other forms of violent persuasion are used about as often to interrupt the courses of leaders while leading their countries. But the cynics would once again point out that these same leaders have a track record of leaving Caribbean shores for treatment overseas when personally affected by the CNCDs, while suggesting that their people have access to the “best affordable” health care locally.

Caribbean people have become accustomed over the last two decades of promises from our ministers responsible for health of “improved health provision”. The optimists can suggests that a 21-year wait between identifying health areas for priority consideration and finally getting some action is “reasonable”.

The weeks, months and years ahead will determine whether the cynics, accustomed to the No Action Talk Only (NATO) approach by our ministers responsible for health to many health issues that wreak havoc in our populations, or the optimists, will be forced to keep their mouths shut.

Source: Quote From Dr. Colin V. Alert Who Is A Family Physician Writing In The Nation Newspaper 19/09/2007


We read the expose posted by Barbados Free Press today about the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). We all agree that although our health care system is one of the best in the region, by our own standards, we have been slipping in recent years. The myriad of issues which continue to flow from our lone public hospital makes the BU household pray every night that we remain in good health. In a previous article, we have taken Dr. Jerome Walcott to task because, as the minister responsible, the buck should stop with him. We felt at the time of his appointment to the health ministry, as a doctor he should have a grasp of the many issues facing the hospital and this insight would ensure that a solution oriented culture would have emerged by now. It does seem to us as outsiders looking in, the problems at the QEH are unsolvable. It was only this week while discussing the absence of Gline Clarke from Barbados, who is known to be in the USA seeking medical attention, that the concern was raised as to why our leaders seem so quick to seek outside medical attention. Dr. Alert in the quoted article above is of the same view.

It is said that the health of a nation should be given priority because a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. The astronomical rise of chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) in the CARICOM region has been occupying the region’s leaders in recent days. In all areas of the media, the public is being inundated with messages about the lifestyle changes which our people must make if we are to stop the increase in CNCDs. We have heard Dr. Denzil Douglas who has lead responsibility in CARICOM for health, we have heard Prime Minister Arthur who is Chairman of CARICOM and today, on an incessant basis, we heard Senator Lynette Eastmond in her monosyllabic manner attempting to deliver the message for the need of our people to make lifestyle changes.

So where should we start?

Let BU state upfront that Dr. Alert has banged the nail squarely on the head! CARICOM has developed a firm reputation around the region as a talk shop where rhetoric abounds like “shit in a pit”. The cynicism of our Caribbean people has been taking root over the years with the inability of our leaders to quicken the pace of regional integration. The latest regional agency, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) remains another CARICOM entity which has flopped for the moment. We agree 100% with Dr. Alert that the latest focus of CARICOM leaders on health should be viewed with suspicion from this group of men devoid of a demonstrated ability to implement a vision.

How can our leaders expect our people to successfully adopt healthy lifestyle changes required to combat CNCDs in the face of the terror of globalization? Travel around our once natural and beautiful Caribbean and what do you see? Our landscapes are now punctuated with the KFC, Macdonald’s, TGI Friday and several international brands which bring its menu of junk. Let us not forget the proliferation of American channels on our cable services which continue to exert tremendous influence on the minds of our people. We definitely have to contend with the ease with which our West Indian culture is being watered down at the expense of integrating into the First World economy.

What a price we continue to pay!

We hate to preach doom and gloom but the testicular fortitude (not a chauvinistic remark) which is required by our leaders to erect some barriers which will protect our people from themselves appear to be dream at this point.

  • A society which demands that we spend hours in a vehicle to move around our respective islands should be examined
  • The cost of food associated with healthy living must be placed within reach of the majority of our people
  • Resist the lobby and tax alcohol and cigarettes out of existence
  • Reduce or remove the taxes on bicycles, scooters, motorbikes, running shoes, etc
  • Make tax credits available for those people who successfully complete healthy living programs. The programs can be facilitated by certified health instructors, dietitians, etc. We are sure a system can be hammered out.
  • Encourage corporate entities, Trade Unions, NGOs through suasion and other means to get on board.

The rhetoric needs to stop, our leaders need to lead.

14 thoughts on “CARICOM Leaders Making Sport At The Health Of Our People~Chronic Non-communicable Diseases On The Rise In The Caribbean

  1. Pingback: Health Tips Blog » CARICOM Leaders Making Sport At The Health Of Our People~Chronic …

  2. How dear Owing be such a fraud to attend a summit on health care when he attaches no importance to the health care of the island?
    This is somewhere that he can speak for and do something for but instead, lets look at the pictures on BFP and read the stories and listen to people decribe their encounters on a daily basis.
    Still Owing finds himself in Trinidad doing the photo opportunity and talking a load of crap meanwhile back at home the basis of the health care system is in a shambles overseen by the most useless person Jerome Walcott and Owing they both should be fired for fraud against the nation.

  3. WIV

    When BFP becomes accommodating to all comments and does not moderate those that show another perspective then BFP can claim to be Free but BFP as of last night in my books Is Bare foolish politicians.

    They claim to be non partisan and do not honour the claim.

    David apologies for wasting space in BU but sometimes ignorance must be exposed

  4. They will be some success stories but generally more of us have loss heavily with care at the QEH.
    There can be little doubt that the QEH hospital is in dire need of TLC and attention, this I fail to see happening under this admistration for in 15 years they have not done a single thing to improve the conditions at the QEH or to improve the health care system in general.
    Why is this the case?
    Is it that they cannot steal in this setup as they can with the prison, the flyovers, or oil storage facility,the baths, the oval or does it not give them enough positive publicity and time on the TV such as a project like the money waasting Oval did for them, just think if we did not rebuild the oval (who does it really belong to anyway) we could have taken that money and built a nice new hospital !!!
    Not to mention the fraud involved in the Prison, flyovers, the oil storage facility, the changing rooms, the coast guard station who built this and at what cost I will put it in with the disputed ones because of the nature of the BOLT contract it seems to me that VECO had an exclusive on these BOLT contracts and we know that this company is notr opposed to paying bribes to politicians as is been seen in the fraud and bribery case taking place in Alaska as we speak.

  5. To ?? maybe they are just not tolerant to the crap some people expound, maybe they are not tolerant to those who willfully set out to warp the truth to favour the ruling party, I have not seen them refuse to publish the factual stories such as the fraud and corruption that is blatanly taking place in the prison, flyovers.
    Do you fall into any of these areas?

  6. If the government map out a policy position on health maybe the parts down the food chain can fall into place. To expect that our people will just fall into line because a politician reads a speech is high order wishful thinking.

  7. I see that yet another piece of west coast beachfront beautiful land has been passed for the erection of 88 condos the owners you guessed it the same ones that now own the massive erection called the SANDS, INN on the BEACH, SANDY LANE, Once again we have sold out to the highest bidder I wonder what they paid Owing to grant this permission as was done at Portico, St.Peter’s Bay is this a plan to have a gov’t department refuse permission and then it is sent to Owing where he meets the developer a payment is agreed and the approval is granted.
    Here again we will be loosing another lovely beach front property and yet another area that acess to the beach will be restricted, the Smith’s and company continue to grab every piece of land not only on the shoreline but inland as well, eventually We barbadians will be strangers in our own island this rich crowd have the measure of Owing and company dangle some money in front of him and you can get whatever you want they have him well hooked and they are winding him in piece by piece remember the St.Peter development council that Owing and his wife are the only two that can sign on that account who are the biggest subscribers to this account, Rausing, Smith, Smurrfit, Paynter, Joyce got the message yet ?
    They pay him to do what they want him to do simple as that.

  8. Breaking news from the QEH once again more turmoil and more confusion, the nurses have walked off the job at the QEH today.

    And we never had it so good every single thing is breaking down in this island and not a single minister to ask a question of or to hear them speak on the issues of their various ministries, road works in a shambles, Chinese workers without work permits no word from them, a prison at 3 times the cost and not a word in anger, tourism seeing the bleakest times and nothing sensible (we should know better by now than to expect sense for this lying idiot) from Lynch.

    The PM the DPM the AG are all numb and unable to say anything.

    Meanwhile the PM is calling a prominent Indian in the island to try to get him to get the Guyanese and the Indian population to vote for him with the incentive of a big payday if he gets the job done.

  9. With the IMF making suggestions (read: ordering), and a phantom treasury, healthcare is normally one of the first casualties, when a government tries to clear its debts.

  10. theNickster~there is healthcare tactical and strategic. The truth is we have never seen a strategy on healthcare over the years which addresses the long term needs of the country and indeed the region. In Barbados for example successive governments have been happy to pump money into the hospital and build a few polyclinics and this is seen as the panacea to solving all the problems in healthcare in Barbados. For example it is only is recent years that it has dawned on the government that we need to train nurses to satisfy the demand. What they have failed to do is to put the required remuneration packages which would stop the nurses after graduation from leaving Barbados. Many of the nurses who leave would love to say if some very small things are done.

  11. WIV

    When BFP becomes accommodating to all comments and does not moderate those that show another perspective then BFP can claim to be Free but BFP as of last night in my books Is Bare foolish politicians.

    They claim to be non partisan and do not honour the claim.

    David apologies for wasting space in BU but sometimes ignorance must be exposed

    lol its not a laughing matter though cause its true as you post a comment on bfp that goes against their views they remove it

  12. only me: Post your supposedly censored comment here.
    Let’s discuss this.

    Idealist, we don’t know what you mean but we believe we have several times explained how erratic Akismet (WordPress Spammer) can be.

  13. I was quite disturbed by the reports of doctors not being paid, though I was told they have their own practices to supplement their income and the student doctors are trying their best. In this day and age it takes someone an average of 6 hours to see doctor in that place.

    Doesn’t the whole “renumeration packages” come under the hospital budget ?

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