February 13, 2009
Hospital theft saga continues

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has waved off the condemnation levied at him by the leadership of the Public Services Union (PSU) over remarks he made recently about pilferage taking place at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.{{more}}

In a media release, the PSU accused Dr Gonsalves of showing “grave insensitivity” to the demoralizing effects that his statement could have on the workers of all levels at the hospital.

As he addressed a symposium for leaders within the public service and government statutory bodies and others, Dr Gonsalves said that both rank and file employees and other employees were stealing – from pillows and pillow-cases to medication, from the hospital.

The PSU claimed that Dr Gonsalves should have used the procedures established within the public service to address these issues, but the Prime Minister strongly disagreed.

He said that he was not making any specific accusation against a particular person, so the talk about procedure wasn’t in place.

“As Prime Minister of this country, certain things have been brought to my attention at the hospital, and I am not talking about administration… about certain things which are taking place down there, albeit by a minority of people. What I must do? Not speak about it?” he asked at a press conference last Monday, February 9.

He said that he is not concerned about any political fallout because of his statements because the majority of the people are pleased that he has addressed the issue, which has been going on for years at the hospital. Dr Gonsalves said that rather than being upset with him, the vast majority of Vincentians want to know what he is going to do about the problem.

Re-emphasizing that what he is speaking is true, Dr Gonsalves said that the hospital management is trying to deal with the problem, but said that the way that the theft takes place makes it difficult to deal with.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses’ Association also spoke out about Dr Gonsalves’ statements.

“Following the broadcasting of the statements made by the Prime Minister, a number of workers at the hospital, particularly nursing personnel, in contact with the public, are chided as thieves,” a release from the organization claims.

Dr Gonsalves, however, re-emphasized in last Monday’s press conference that he believes that the vast majority of employees at the hospital, including the nurses and doctors, “work within and in accordance with the rules and regulations.” (See letter from Nurses Association on Page11)

SEARCHLIGHT is reliably informed that recently, the drug Syntocinon, which isn’t classified as a dangerous drug, had to be labeled as such, so that it could be better accounted for, as supplies disappeared after a recent shipment.

The drug is used to induce labour and can also be used to prevent or control heavy bleeding after a mother has given birth, according to, but ironically, the drug can also be used in the administration of an abortion, according to