July 29, 2005
Health Minister knocks NDP on hospital flooding

Known for his cool persona, Dr. Douglas Slater, Minister of Health and Parliamentary Representative for South Leeward shed his cloak of modesty and was very impassioned in the House of Assembly at the Thursday, July 21, sitting of the House.

Dr. Slater challenged the New Democratic Party (NDP) side of the House and his critics on two issues, which he said, were of national importance; the flooding at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on Monday, July 18 and the ‘Vision Now’ programme.{{more}}

The Minister stated the flash flood that caused serious flooding at the hospital about 1 p.m that day was not predicted. Yet the Government was being blamed for it.

“I want to encourage the leadership of the Opposition; if there is any, to be more responsible,” Dr. Slater chanted.

He said the incident that occurred at the hospital was inherited from the NDP. Dr. Slater recalled that three major floods took place at the hospital under the NDP administration. He said to date, a proposed solution that was made during that administration’s rule to divert the run off water from Montrose is still on the record books.

“There were so many problems we met. We are moving slowly but addressing them,” the Minister added.

“It is cheap, poor politics to try and blame the government for this incident,” said Dr. Slater as he thanked the staff at the hospital for cleaning up the facility.

He disclosed the department for sterilizing and maintaining equipment; sections of the maternity ward and the oxygen generating plant were flooded.

In relation to the ‘Vision Now’ programme where Vincentians can access free eye care in Cuba, Dr. Slater said the programme has made him a proud Minister of Health.

“Vision now! Vision then! Vision for the future,” said Dr.Slater as he appealed to all Vincentian to take advantage of the National Screening.

“We don’t want anybody to miss this opportunity,” he added.

Sitting nearby, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves shouted: “Dougie you are the best Minister of Health.”

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Dr. Slater said he was feeling very ecstatic about the ‘Vision Now’ programme.

“I am feeling enthused, emotionally pleasing. All the good things I can say. It required a lot of hard work of a team,” said the Health Minister.

He thanked the staff at the Ministry of Health and other departments such as Immigration and Education for successful operations of the program.

The Minister said the state was not aware that there was such a high demand for this level of eye care.

“The important thing here is that our citizens who are in demand get treated.”