April 15, 2011
Official – Government committed EC$170,683 for Givorny

George Byron, the father of the 12-year-old Thomas Saunders student that was struck by a vehicle in a hit and run accident, could have shown a bit of gratitude for the Government’s role in financing his son’s medical treatment overseas, says a top Government official.{{more}}

“Be that as it may, we still try to help people because the Government has a mandate to help those who are disadvantaged and are in need,” said the official, who preferred to remain anonymous.

The official’s frank remarks on the matter come in the wake of Byron, in the Nation newspaper, Barbados, last weekend, heaping praise on Barbadians, who have assisted in raising a few thousand dollars to assist Givorny Nimblett, while sidelining the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ effort. The official disclosed that the Government has already committed EC$170, 683 for Givorny’s medical care both in Barbados and to airlift him to Cuba.

In January this year, a few days after the accident, the Government paid US$21, 975 to airlift Givorny to Barbados, plus provided additional monies to assist Byron in Barbados. The Government had also absorbed the cost for transportation by land to take Givorny to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, as well as the cost to provide his medical care there.

“I have not heard one word of thanks from Mr. George Byron.

“I am saying to myself, not a word of thanks to the Government here, who if they had not accomodated him (Givorny), to fly him out by air ambulance, his prognosis would have been very, very, poor,” said the official.

“We paid for everything including the passage for the land transportation, the specialist services; it is not cheap.”

The source said even though the Ralph Gonsalves-led administration did not have to get involved at the level it did, it took on the mantle to finance the adolescent’s medical care on moral grounds.

Giving a deeper insight into the cost to take the child to Cuba by air ambulance, the official told SEARCHLIGHT that the figure stands at US$39, 325.

The official said while Givorny was at the QEH, the doctors felt that they were unable to provide the necessary rehabilitative care and suggested that he be taken overseas for further treatment.

The source continued that Byron was in Barbados, when someone suggested that he take his son to Virgina, United States, for medical help. However, when doctors here contacted medical practitioners there, they were told that the children’s hospital did not accommodate international patients in need of rehabilitative care, and if they do, that’s for a one-off instance and patients are not kept in residence.

The source said in the meantime, Dexter Rose, St.Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ambassador to Cuba, was contacted and he made the necessary arrangements for Givorny to be placed at Ciren, a neurological hospital in Cuba.

The official continued that Government officials here had to wait on Cuba’s authorities to finalise the arrangements and during that time Byron contacted persons in Barbados to assist him.

The official added while in Barbados Byron was contacted and was told that the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Embassy in Cuba was dealing with the matter and Givorny could have an appoitment.

“It is Ambassador Rose in Cuba, who made the arrangements, who we got on to in terms of flight arrangements. We made the arrangements with the hospital [QEH] through our social worker to have him removed,” said the source.

The official said while Byron’s frustration is understood the Government here could not have forced the hospital in Cuba to take in Givorny before it was ready to do so.

The official further stated that this is not the first time “Government is going out to provide medical assistance for hundreds of Vincentians.”