Donville Inniss Says UWI Tuition Fees Must Stay

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Donville Inniss - Minister of Commerce, and International Business

Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business

“The Freundel Stuart administration says it is sticking to its guns to make Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies start pulling their pockets for tuition fees from next year even though welcoming a new private sector fund to bail out those who cannot afford to pay…The firm position was taken today by Minister of Commerce, and International Business, Donville Inniss, while launching a new charity known as Global Education Scholastic Trust…Inniss said the Government had done the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate, and would carry through with it…It is not easy for me as a politician that would have taken in recent debates to reduce fees at UWI with effect from 2014, but it is one of those things we felt we had to do, and we stand by that decision.”

What else can one expect from an uncaring Government, whose scions – and probably their scions’ scions – have had a free education at the UWI Cave Hill Campus? The motto of this Government is now “after me the deluge”! Is this the same Government that Minister Blackett called people-centred? I guess he means centred around the 16 DLP Government MPs, but night runs till day catches it!

Minister Inniss can spare us his crocodile tears!

You do not have money for our students at UWI Cave Hill, nor for the QEH, but you have millions of dollars in waivers – including one for food and beverage which no hotel has had before – to throw at a multi-millionaire named “Butch” Stewart, although he took over a hotel here and promised to develop and refurbish it so that Barbadians could get work, but absconded leaving it to moulder and the iron in it to rust! This left those who had hopes of getting a job there up the creek without a paddle! “Is that “the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate”, Minister Inniss?

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No to QEH Fees!

Kammie Holder, Insurance Underwriter

Kammie Holder, Insurance Underwriter

“I would like to say to them, if they are incapable of running this country in such a way as to preserve these fundamental social rights of the Barbadian people – that is the right to free education, the right to free health care – then they should really relinquish the reins of Government and let somebody else try,” – David Commissiong

I Kammie Holder endorse the aforementioned comments  despite the pervasive vindictiveness so evident in Barbados for speaking honestly and having an opposing view. The recent pronouncement by Honourable John Boyce that user fees may have to be introduced at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital QEH seems reactionary.

Below are 8 points why I am against any wholesale fees at QEH without broad consultation as required under servant leadership.

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HIV Infections Dip, Syphilis Contractions Spike – the Irony!

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Should the money spent on sex education be re-allocated?

Should the money spent on sex education be re-allocated?

Having harboured a long-standing belief that the time, effort and costs associated with government and/or NGO supported education programs designed to modify negative or dangerous human behaviour mainly serves as a means of employment for the various program facilitators, it was heartening to learn, beginning two or three years ago, that the rate of new cases of HIV infection had begun to decline as the effects of educating people in safe-sex practices had borne fruit.

Now, though, we seem to be faced with a conundrum, as the Chief Medical Officer has taken to both print and visual media to warn of an alarming spike in cases of syphilis. As we are all aware of how this infection is transmitted, claims for the efficacy of safe-sex education go out the window. Importantly, eliminating this red herring in the reported decline of HIV infection should provide an impetus for researchers to discern the proximate cause for this phenomenon.

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Doctors at St Philip Geriatric Hospital and QEH Bungle Diagnosis and a Son is Left to Mourn the Death of His Father

Submitted by David Weekes
Why no x-ray?

Why was no x-ray ordered?

This is a very emotional issue for me so I will try to keep focused while making this submission.

Three months ago my father, the late Samuel Weekes sustained and injury while he was at the St Philip Geriatric Hospital.

Daddy was injured on the 11th of January 2013 and sustained what the attending doctor called “soft tissue damage”.

That Doctor prescribed Panadol, Paracetamol and Voltaren. Five days later, on the 16th of January, Daddy was transferred to the QEH.

Eight days later on the 24th of January, I received a call from the QEH indicating that Daddy actually suffered a fractured hip from his fall on the 11th of January during which time a doctor is prescribing Panadol and Voltaren.

QEH requested me to come and sign consent forms for an operation, which I did the same day.

A Vision for Healthcare

In Barbados many think of the healthcare sector has those services delivered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to a lesser degree, the polyclinics. This is wrong. The video provided (16 min) is worth watching to dispel such thinking. As an educated nation in 2013 we need to keep pace with how progressive countries are managing healthcare to deliver a QUALITY result.

Notes From a Native Son: Is Greed Now Part of the Hippocratic Oath?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
As I sat down to write this week’s BU contribution on a pressing financial economic matter, I came across the break out of serious antibiotic-resistant bacteria problems at our only hospital. Those of us familiar with the various infections that plague British hospitals would not be surprised that Klebsiella bacteria has now arrived at the QEH. I must admit, it did not come as a shock to me, since a friend and I have only recently been discussing the rat-infested, rubbish-strewn, health and safety hazard that is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. But it was the compulsive, arrogant, obstinate greed of the doctors behind their objections to alternative medicine that tipped me over in to widening the debate on the future of the health service and long-term care. It is not a concern about patient care, nor about the general welfare of ordinary Barbadians, but rather a determine attempt to co-opt the attorney general in their little game of protecting their money-making interests. To put it in simple terms, we are in a deep cesspit of our own making, typified by the abandoning of the elderly, so-called granny dumping, for which the entire nation should be ashamed, yet all these expensively educated people could think about is their own bank accounts.

Analysis:
There are issues of more pressing concern that doctors should be involved in, such as the mortality rate at the hospital, the high costs of X-rays and MRI examinations, of overall poor patient care by doctors, who attend surgeries as and when they like. Few Barbadian doctors, aware that their profession is about public health and not just money-making, have raised their heads from the trough that is taxpayers’ money to battle for improvements in the state of public health. But, typically, they are more concerned about the continuing rise of unregulated medical practice – so-called complementary medicine – not in the interest of the public, but because this medical practice main block one of their most lucrative income streams.

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What Manner of Men Are Peter and Thomas Harris?

Barbadians who know the Grant family were shocked to learn in April of 2012 that they were charged with the theft of over $1/2 million dollars. The alleged criminal act is reported to have taken place at the Sandy Crest Medical Centre in St. James.  Bail was posted at $250,000.00 for each of the accused, with two sureties. Regrettably Carole-Anne Grant, the matriarch, has since passed no doubt as a result of the tremendous stress the matter had placed on her health.

And why was BU shocked? The conceptualization of Sandy Crest was entirely done by Dr. Malcolm Grant in 2003. The Grants – husband and wife team – later approached Dr. Brian Charles and as they say the rest is history. After several years of a happy partnership both the business and social relationship soured.

The alleged facts of the case are as follows:

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Building-out a Viable Barbados Medical Tourism Sector

Group based at Simon Fraser University researching medical tourism in Barbados

Group based at Simon Fraser University researching medical tourism in Barbados

The emergence of the private health care sector in Barbados has grabbed the attention of BU in recent times. One of the problems we face in Barbados is that we seem to make decisions without considering robust research. One such area is medical tourism. BU did a scan of the Democratic Labour Party’s Manifesto and we were not able to find any significant mention, and it was not a serious election platform issue. How important is medical tourism to the strategy to diversity our tourism product?

BU would have preferred the University of the West Indies to have undertaken any research to establish the viability of the medical tourism sector but we are not there yet. We note however that a research group based at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada has generated a study which can be used to inform discussion on the subject of whether to establish a medical tourism sector.

Here is the link to a one page summary of the research.

Thanks to BU family member Sargeant for bring this matter to our attention.

No Response from Ministry of Health to Peter Heimlich’s Request

Chief Medical Officer Joy St. John (l) Donville Inniss former minister of health

Chief Medical Officer Joy St. John (l) Donville Inniss former minister of health – Source: Barbados Advocate

Three months later a routine query from Peter Heimlich (the son of the man who created the Heimlich manoeuvre) remains outstanding. BU first highlighted this matter in a December, 07, 2012 blog – Asthma Study Conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Questioned. Minister Donville Inniss is currently preparing to contest in a general election on Thursday, Peter Heimlich will likely have to wait a little longer for a response to his query about a medical study using the “Heimlich manoeuvre for asthma” conducted on 67 children.

Here is the letter sent by Peter Heimlich in response to an email request from the minister on Jan 5, 2013. BU wonders why a minister has to be so intimately involved in this matter. This is a routine request which one of the health administrators should have executed on weeks ago.

See a full report on this matter on Heimlich’s blog – The Sidebar.

Are Messrs Donville Inniss and Denis Lowe Aware the Inoperability of the Sluice Gate Adds to the Dengue Worry?

The following was posted on another BU blog by Nostradamus

Dengue Alert!

Dengue Alert!

Nation Newspaper today Feb 14, 2013 front page headline  “Dengue worry”. Start of the story says “There has been a worrying spike in dengue cases so far this year. And the Ministry of Health views the situation so seriously that it has issued a bulletin to doctors, reminding them to report any suspected cases of the disease.”

Further on it says the Ministry of Health stated in a release that among other things that it would maintain surveillance at various sites and one of those areas noted is WETLANDS.  Is the  Ministry of Health aware that the sluice has  not and is not  functioning and that there has been no effective wetland water level control in place for many years ?  No interchange of sea water and fresh water that is so vital to the health of the wetland and for a  vibrant fish population to control mosquitoes naturally?   When the sluice gate worked, it was possible  to raise the water levels and get water flowing through the canals.   Flowing water in the canals means fewer mosquitoes.

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Notes From a Native Son: February 21 is the First Day of the Rest of our History

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
They are off, the race is on, and thoroughbreds and also-rans are lining up as if they rightly deserve to be in this race. But, this is the general election that will define Barbados for the rest of our history; as electors we can either reject the old-fashion vulgar, always cynical rhetoric and demand dynamic new ideas and vision to rescue us as an economy and a nation. This is, or ought to be, the real deal.

As voters we can either retreat in to our comfort zones, and play the repulsive petty party game, or as citizens of a forward-looking nation we can make tough demands on those who aspire, who selected themselves, to be our political masters. Constituents must put hard questions to these candidates, they must demand clear and frank answers, no ‘maybes’ or ‘let me think about it’ or any other obfuscation or playing for time. But first, every candidate must pledge to freeze parliamentary salaries for the duration of the next parliament, they must abolish the scandal of parliamentary pensions and replace them with a one-off lump-sum pay off when rejected by the electorate (a six month resettlement grant seems fair).

Reviewing the Stuart Years:
People must ask themselves if the Thompson/Stuart years have delivered the policies and dynamism that the country needed at this particular time in our history. They must also reject any attempt to blame the previous government, an excuse that might have worked in the first months of coming to power, but as time went on, became more and more unacceptable.

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Donville Inniss Tell Us

In two earlier blogs BU asked Minister of Health Donville Inniss to clarify a couple issues regarding his involvement in a company called Fiesta Catering. He is a public servant and taxpayers deserve some respect if public documents caused us to raise concerns. Instead he used his time on the airwaves last week to direct a tirade at ‘the blogs’.  We are disappointed that he has not addressed our questions, we know he monitors BU.

The fact that traditional media who we know also monitor the blogs have not followed the issue is to be expected.

Here is another matter we hope Minister Inniss will find the time to address. BU understands that Colostomy bags are provided free for patients who have had this procedure. Patients are signing for a high quality bag called Coloplast and the hospital is charged for this but the patients are being provided with a lower quality Generic brand that costs half the price but is charged to the hospital full price.

Minister the question is simple – is the above (in blue) true?

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Minister Donville Inniss:The Emergence of Private Healthcare

Donville Inniss - Minister of Health

Donville Inniss – Minister of Health

Peter Wickham, talk show host, pollster and social commentator join many others daily to spare no opportunity to sing the praises of Minister of Health Donville Inniss. Perhaps it explains why he was invited to Inniss’ New Year bash? If in the minds of many Inniss is doing a good job then all credit to him he must be doing some thing  right. Despite the praise being heaped on Inniss BU remains concerned at the state of the healthcare system in Barbados.

In the Christmas message of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners’ (BAMP), President Carlos Chase was highly critical of the management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). To quote a local daily newspaper: “BAMP has also slammed the lack of progress in talks between them on ongoing contentious matters. The continuing shortages at the institution came under fire from BAMP too.”  Implied in the report is that the industrial relations climate at the QEH continues to simmer read Alexandra. The QEH is the primary health institution in Barbados which falls under Minister Donville Inniss.

Of wider concern to BU is the emergence of a budding private healthcare system in Barbados. We are not knocking entrepreneurship but BU reserves the right to question and to share our observations in the interest of promoting transparency and encouraging elucidation. A comment on an earlier blog questioned the lack of transparency by government regarding the Al Barrack transaction. It is ironic that more than five years ago the late David Thompson promised an electorate hungry for change that should they win office – and they did – they would introduce a level of transparency in government hitherto unseen. With another general election looming Barbadians have a chance to be judge and jury.

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Donville Inniss HC

Donville Inniss - Minister of Health

Donville Inniss – Minister of Health

Of course the DLPites will challenge Barbados Underground (BU) because we are about to ask a few hard questions of a DLP minister. In a recent contribution to debate in parliament Minister Ronald Jones confirmed that ‘the blogs’ are not partial to one political side or the other. BU agrees with Jones, it is an uncompromising characteristic of BU.

Before he [Inniss] became a member of parliament he was involved in managing a portfolio of offshore companies. There was the revelation that a few of the companies included in his portfolio were x-rated websites. Minister Inniss publicly declared when he was challenged by the media that the x-rated websites were no longer part of the stable of companies he had an interest. Further, in keeping with what is required he had ceded the management of his business to others when he was appointed a minister; BU assumes to his wife Gail Williams-Inniss.

In the absence of freedom of information legislation the public is left to accept the word of Minister Inniss. We have no evidence that Inniss has been less than truthful but in the interest of satisfying transparency, the public should have recourse which a FOIA would provide. Regrettably a general election is about to be called and the draft FOIA continues to languish in the office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

The documents attached show that Minister Inniss was served to appear in a matter in Virginia.

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Notes From a Native Son: Physician Heal Thyself

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Recently, the British intellectual and journalist, Will Hutton, asked the question: “How do you successfully break a mistaken and destructive intellectual consensus?” It set me off immediately thinking of the cosy social world and the mental processes in which the political, professional and academic elites in Barbados conspire to converge on the same ideas, which are implemented in much the same way, often by the same people – and, no matter which party is in control, they all expect different results.

Two ideas come to mind: the break of the consensus by the attorney general on the silly and ill-advised decision to plant taxpayers’ money in to the Four Seasons project, which he rightly sees as a private investment which should be let to private investors. The other is equally as irresponsible, the decision to build a spanking new Bds$800m hospital in Kingsland. Both ideas are loopy and reveal the poverty of our policy-making, especially when it comes to major capital projects.

First, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, opened to the public in 1963, which competent and firm management cannot sort out. What patients are complaining about are issues such as time-wasting, spending hours before being seen by a doctor in Accidents and Emergencies, of under-productive nurses spending time on the wards talking to each other while surgical patients are in pain and crying out for help, over-paid and arrogant, sometimes even questionably competent, doctors being on the public payroll while spending their time looking after their private patients. The list goes on. So, to the ordinary man and woman in the street, the real problem at the QEH is not the building, although that us falling apart, but what goes on inside the building.

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