Thursday, February 22, 2024


Irfaan Ali received the Global Leadership Award...


For all of his statements that “A...


COGITO, ERGO SUM .........



We remember these headlines for two reasons…first for the sheer alarm at the volume of candidates who failed at the finish line, then for the political priming by the Minister of Health, whose citing of selective geography – Georgetown– came with connotations that superseded the masking of administrative failures that contributed to the nursing shortage- in a barefaced grab to retain some political high ground.

This time, the headline is coming from the current Opposition Leader and for a need that is both critical and dire.

Centuries of colonial care, which evolved from a British Guiana estate medical model, suggest that the British approach to care giving was considerate of the human life that depended on it, way back then. Recruitment of nurses from, both UK and subsequent resident Guianese, was guided by a framework which specified a specific measure of education as a requirement.

We’ll refer to this foundation as one of the primary reasons Public Hospital Georgetown was part of the dispensing ‘Bread Basket’ back in the 70’s, when regional nurses went there for training.

Nursing’s season of splendor may have come to an end, as do so many ‘splendors’ over the course of time but the demise of the profession in Guyana should be victim of neither season nor ego of politicians in perpetual ax -grinding- in a country where politics is the sum total of derisive verbal exchanges between the leading and opposing Parties.

One of the cornerstones of the colonial model was the measure of physician /nurse to patient ratio. The abundance of evidence of danger to healthcare that the reckless deviation from this measure of efficiency has caused -ranging from low birth rates to high mortality– demands expeditious input from politicians, the governing overseer for the people.

The Opposition Leader’s criticism to what the ruling arm of Government submits, as a “short term plan to bring in Cuban nurses to grapple with a serious shortage of that category of health workers facing Guyana” comes, characteristically, with no alternative.

What does this Leader mean byYou now telling us that you are going to bring nurses from overseas. The damn fools must know if they pay the nurses, they will stay here and we are saying to you that, as a political party, we believe our workers must be properly treated…”

Couple of things here.

If he were functioning in his elected role as 50% of government, he would have known of the precarious position of the nation’s ongoing nursing needs….which are not just salary specific but a chronic and compounded failure to qualify to perform the duty.

And, if the Budget Debate had been used for the purpose for which it is intended, he would have had the skilled advice of Finance and Accounting professionals to address how the salary shortfalls, for this critical profession should be handled. He would have addressed them during the debate, at which he submitted neither serious nor corrective line item scrutiny or any solutions, at all.

It would be a good time to mention that Public Hospital Georgetown is, actually, a Government operated corporation, has been since 1999 and has had its challenges in bookkeeping for spending that may have been able to cover the salary needs now, if the bleeding had been stemmed early and more recently, with Opposition oversight.

Pages 55/97 thru 62/97 in RAM REPORT is a damning exposé of strategically loose accounting which never looks good when the beneficiaries are not the patient outcomes that is the basis of the business.

The hospital system is under-serving and the statistics shown above confirm this. It is politics as blood sport, this opposing for the sake of opposing, as the system established to save lives, especially for the poorer folk, remains impotent as insults and language-unbecoming are bartered for ideas.

And the President’s urging of Canada to quickly accredit Guyana’s nursing schools comes with an apparent lack of understanding of the principle of scope and practice that comes with care giving.

‘Quick’ instead of meeting educational standards reminds us of ….well, the Leader of the ruling Party.

We’ve had our political realignment long ago.

The ideologies of past leaders and their contribution to the political climate have cultivated a practice of hero worship and fealty that has convinced many they must be permanent.

The polarization is the proximate cause of the detriment of good governance, evidenced here by bad health care. It’s the kind of affliction that cripples any inclination to consider modern approaches to current day problems. Perpetual speculation- from both major parties– as to how fallen heroes “must be feeling” when certain actions are taken is testimony to stifled thinking – and the rituals of crass conduct are deployed as some kind of penance.

The country has never been more engaged with the international world as it is, currently.

The Opposition Leader just took a bow for gaining an audience with the US Foreign Secretary, which is a matter of course. He dismantles his accomplishment with his name calling and no alternative to fixing the human cost, the loss of life, that is a direct result of a system that seems more concerned about the accurate financial compensation of its Administrative Staff than it is about a service to the sick and the ailing.

We’re hoping that both Parties have figured out that neither their politics nor personalities got them the face time they secured with Secretary Blinken.

They’re governing an oil producing country in a geopolitical space that contains Venezuela. Venezuela’s oil and politics continue to perplex America. America didn’t become party to the Guianas Security Master Plan for reasons that are not self serving.

International politics is more than attending overseas meetings and reciting scripted lines at the UN. It’s more than securing an audience with resident diplomats. It’s the effect your country has on the Western International Powers which assert jurisdiction over global security.

And that security includes the access to and control of oil. The contracted resource extractor, Exxon, with its well heeled political lobby and number one position in its product sector, is a huge contributor to America’s GDP. It’s philosophy of making money and energy security could have been conceived with America’s mission for world power in mind.

We’ll add, the agencies like World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, all supported by the United Nations to which Guyana is a signatory, have designated standards of medical care which countries that receive their Medical Aid must adhere to.

Guyana, with its poor health care outcomes, in spite of international aid and membership in bodies that tout humanitarianism, is more likely to be ‘counseled’ about its poor humanitarian showing, given its record on medical management.

Oil has elevated the nation’s placement in international politics but its national discourse and its success at meeting the internationally established civic benchmarks, LIKE HEALTH CARE, will confirm its seat at the table.

We’re sure the Guyanese practitioners of politics are aware of Exxon’s support of human rights in its explicit condemnation of anything to the contrary. Those concluding that these multinational conglomerates take the side of the leading Party may not be aware of how damaging violations of their published tenets could be.

As we’ve said, government is the composition of the Ruling Party and the Opposition. Rise in excess deaths will continue if a fix is not immediate. Hiring from abroad to fill shortfalls is not a novel occurrence. It has been the go-to solution for Western nations for decades.

Somebody needs to let the Opposition Leader know.

It’s now up to the check -and -balance arm of the Government, its Opposition, to work with the ruling Party to secure the expertise needed to immediately slow down the chances of dying in/at the hands of Healthcare.

Performance politics is not a life saver.

Somebody needs to let the Opposition Leader know.

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