What is all the hullabaloo about regarding who should get free healthcare in Barbados? Is it not a simple matter? You show proof of Barbadian citizenship and voila, the transaction is done. If it were so simple. It seems we live in times when to be educated does not mean an ability to be solution oriented.
BU has delivered some deserved licks to Minister Donville Inniss in the past on how he handled the Ishmael Sparman matter and a few other matters. There is that name Sparman again! The Minister is always the first to remind Barbadians he is the son of a fisherman and therefore his back has the texture of a turtle. On the matter of enforcing the rules which direct who should get free healthcare, BU is 100% behind the minister. It seems every matter under the sun has to be politicised nowadays in Barbados to satisfy political expediency.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) opposition led by Mia Mottley has started to rail about the health of Barbados coming under threat because of the improved vigilance demanded by Minister Donville Inniss on who gets free healthcare. A policy of enforcing existing regulation appears to be separating the legal from the illegal. The minister is on record promising favourable consideration to Barbadians who have been lazy in processing their ‘papers’ to the Immigration Department and therefore have been exposed by the process.
On the weekend the local media reported a backlog of filings to the Immigration Department going back several years. The BU family warned about the open door policy of the previous government and the seeds of wanton mismanagement sowed at the building on the Wharf Road now coming back to bite Barbados in the rear. The irony is that we have a BLP now in opposition who would seek to make political hay at the situation being played out. Of course a big consideration for the effort is cost reduction in the healthcare sector, who is denying it? At the same time the minister is not an ass, he must have functionaries in his ministry who are capable and obligated by law to apprise him about the impacts of his rigorous enforcement of policy.
Did we hear the same bawling when illegal immigrants were squatting in Zone 1 areas during the last administration? Did we hear the same cacophony when illegal immigrants were reported to be renting pig pens for accommodation during the last administration? Did we hear the same noise when one and two room apartments were being rented to ten people at a time during the last administration? Did the aforementioned practices not pose a threat to the health of Barbadians at the time? While a tit for tat policy is not condoned by BU, the illustration serves to expose the hypocrisy of politicians. Surely healthcare is an issue which should not be made a political football. Why must we politicise everything in Barbados?
During the last general election the anti-Barbados position adopted by the BLP on immigration was one of those issues which did not endear it to Bajans. It seems we have a case of a group of people bent on repeating mistakes of the recent past. Barbadians will be the ones to vote next general election not Caricom citizens legal or illegal. Here we are in a slow economic period with government under severe pressure from those same BLP voices clamouring to reduce the current account deficit. One would like to believe that on the issue of healthcare politicians can dispense with taking this matter to the football field.
If you are Barbadian in possession of obligatory citizenship ‘papers’ free healthcare is waiting for you. If you do not have the ‘papers’ you have to pay! Exceptions will be made on a case by case business given the mess inherited at the Immigration Department which fuelled the laissez faire approach to immigration in Barbados in the recent past.