ANYONE listening to the Parliamentary debate on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, would have been particularly proud of two noteworthy, talking points. The first was the remarkable, cogent analysis by the Leader of the Opposition, giving a full history of the “Old St. Jude’s” fiasco versus the “New St. Jude”. The second, was the Leader of the Opposition’s thought-provoking presentation, emphasizing the serious pitfalls lying ahead, regarding the wastage of the Saudi funds. Funds which will ultimately have to be repaid by taxpayers long after the “Ali Baba Clan” has exited office. This is the last opportunity for the St. Lucian public to speak out with one voice about salvaging the deplorable state of healthcare in the south and; simultaneously, stopping the government from squandering EC 201 million dollars on the rehabilitation of an eighty-year-old structure.
Despite such a detailed, lucid, and eloquent explanation to the House and the nation by the Leader of the Opposition, it is perplexing why entities like the Chamber of Commerce, the Concerned Citizens of the South, together with, sensible and reasonable St. Lucians have not stood up in unanimity, for what makes good sense concerning such a vital project which carries a life expectancy of fifty years. It was sad and also infuriating to listen to the Parliamentary Representative for Central Castries pathetic and impetuous attempt to criticize the soundness of the contribution by the Leader of the Opposition. A member who recently showed no remorse for his disposal of state lands at a fraction of the cost without any compunction.
No other civilized nation would stand idly by and witness this sort of financial abuse and perversity, particularly a developing country, plagued by a perennial dearth of financial resources. This administration is literally throwing $200 million down the drain. The opportunity to construct a brand new, modern, state-of-the-art, hospital arises once every fifty years or should I say, once in a lifetime. As a nation, have we turned our backs on such a golden opportunity? Especially, when we consider the astronomical financial cost that our people must suffer to travel abroad to access first-class medical care because of the substandard state of health care available at home.
Three years from now this SLP administration will have exited office, leaving us with a public health and financial quagmire on our hands. Then, would it not be too late, to examine our conscience for not standing up for what was right and what we truly deserved? With all the objective information and expert advice available on television and social and print media, against the government’s intended action on the crucial matter, the hushed, indifferent, and dispassionate feedback of the people, has been quite disconcerting. Is this in itself the depiction of a nation without a soul or a conscience?