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?
“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.
Popular herbicide Roundup is a watered down version of agent orange
Some people eat apples as portrayed in the mass media from the side to the core, some eat from the bottom or top end because that way you eat the whole apple leaving only the seeds and stem, some people scrape the wax off of the apple before eating it. Most people don’t even know that some apples are dipped in wax to preserve it for years, some people read the bar code to see if it is an organic apple, some people peel the apple because they know the skin is the part that gets the most chemical spray, I personally don’t eat the red apple because it is imported, I prefer a mammy apple, golden apple or sugar apple. However way too much people have no idea what they are putting into their body. We tend to think that because it is sold in a supermarket it is good for us, we are inclined to forget that the supermarket is a business (to make a profit) it has nothing to do with our health.
There is an interesting link between chemicals used in war and chemicals used in food production which is not well known – we war with each other and we war with Mother nature. Chemicals used in agriculture are actually watered down versions of the chemicals used in war. Fertilizer use exploded onto the scene after the first world war because the war machinery that was used to create chemicals for bombs had to find an alternative use, it was easy to convert to be used in agriculture. The ammonium used in explosives is actually the same ammonium used in fertilizer, you should recall the Oklahoma City bombing.
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.
Expecting Barbados food sources to transform from export to domestic is a very mighty task. This is compounded by the fact that we get up to five times our population in tourists annually. The result: the demand for food fluctuates too quickly for farmers to accurately judge what the market will be like when the crops are ready to harvest up to four months away. Our previous agriculture model of exporting sugar had numerous advantages for our small island. The fact the sugar takes a long time to expire and has excellent shipping and handling properties means that the farmer was almost guaranteed that his crop would be sold.
If agriculture is to survive given our small population, and benefit a greater number of people, not just the few that can afford the protection of the large greenhouses required if you want to grow vegetables for profit. We either have to find a more suitable export crop or promote the kitchen garden again. Baird Village Aquaponics has done some interesting research into finding an export crop. We researched rice, tobacco, grapes and soybean – all good – but Quinoa as a food crop for Barbados is showing the most real life potential, international research suggests the plant does not do well at low elevations, but Barbados has a very interesting environment that I personally believe can grow any crop.
Over the past few days the corporate, global, propaganda media have been glorifying the ‘self immolation’ of Angelina Jolie as brave and an answer to breast cancer for the women of the world. We consider that Jolie is being turned into a buffoon by the corporate media. Such a person should be receiving our well wishes and not be projected, for ratings etc, for some kind of perverted virtuousness. The simple truth, to this complex issue, is that merely cutting off body parts is not an answer for cancer. For the biochemistry of a human body does not build a fire wall between breast tissue and the rest of the body. The media promotion of double mastectomy as a viable solution is dangerous and has implication for all the women of the world, especially young girls, and sets a staggeringly new (low) standard in the pervasiveness of a new corporate culture – a culture that will be coming to a clinic near you, real soon.
The medical establishment has failed for decades to find their elusive cure to any cancer. In the interim that medical industrial complex continues to profit from the suffering of mankind. Sometimes their treatment modality is worse than the disease itself. We have a case, not in Barbados, where an 83 years old woman was being encouraged by a doctor to have a $500K operation to remove a clot from her brain. We can present hundreds of cases like this one. Where is this money going? Have conventional doctors everywhere loss their ability to care? Why is the patient not the most important person in the health care system? To what extent do medical practitioners answerable to pharmaceutical and other corporate interests? To what extent are we prepared to commodify medicine? Are we prepared to see old people die in the service of corporates? It is this same medical industrial complex that seeks to profit by inventing new diseases like AIDS, SARS, etc. The media supports conventional medicine as a Holy Grail. To them this is beyond question. Doctors are used to giving patients drugs without even a good understanding about their testing, trial and general efficacy. No wonder 120K people die every year in the USA from the effects of pharmaceutical drugs alone. Hundreds of thousands more die as a result of other medical errors. When the food industry is working hand and glove with the medical industry to manufacture an endless line of sick people by feeding them what Professor Pollen has called ‘edible substances’, like Purity Bakeries bread, which can stay ‘fresh’ for years without organic growths.
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.
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.
Barbados is more than an economy is always a profound cliché emanating from the flattering lips of our leaders. Our ratio of action to pretty pronouncements would be weighted in the favour of action if they only believed what they read from their well written speeches. Barbados has 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) of public paved roads. In 2010, an assessment released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the United Kingdom, ranked Barbados 6th in the world, and the top spot in the Western Hemisphere for road network density. We have heard estimates of up to 140,000 registered vehicles on the roads in Barbados. No mischief is intended but could there be any environmental links which have cursed Barbados with rankings of #3 in Prostate Cancer, #13 in Breast Cancer, #13 Colon Rectum Cancer and #9 as it relates to Lymphomas.
Let me share an excerpt from a BBC report dated June 12,201, “Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says. It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder. It based the findings on research in high-risk workers such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers. However, the panel said everyone should try to reduce their exposure to diesel exhaust fumes.” (Source,The International Agency for Research)
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.
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.
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.
The following was posted on another BU blog by Nostradamus
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.
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.