KINGSTOWN, SVG (BreadFruit News) – Amidst the controversy of a dengue fever outbreak creating a possible public health crisis here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Hon Luke Browne has hinted that he will not resign.
The Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has called on Minister Browne to be fired if he does not resign for what one opponent termed, ‘sleeping on the job.’
However, in a lively presentation this week, the East Kingstown candidate for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) boasted about his performance as the Health Minister.
“For the past 5 years as Minister of Health, I have opened more health care facilities than any other Minister of Health in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
“I am leading you through the Covid-19 pandemic and we are now addressing the outbreak of dengue fever. I have given you the best of my ability. It has been an intense period of my life, but the determination has always been to make this the finest hour for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Minister Browne who has being trolled on Facebook for sleeping at several meetings and events said at a ULP Virtual Public Meeting, “I was wide awake for delivering results for the people of this country for the past 5 years in this capacity.”
He listed several projects that the current ULP administration has done to improve healthcare and environmental services under his watch.
He credits the government for a transformation of the healthcare infrastructure listing the Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre, the Chateaubelair Smart Hospital, the Levi Latham Health Centre, and the Buccament Bay Polyclinic as examples.
He suggests that:
“This government will go down in history as the government that introduced for the first time ever, dialysis services to the public sector of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This government will be remembered, this government will be known, as the government that provided an expanded programme of chemotherapy and cancer treatment for persons who are affected by that disease in this country.”
“We will be known for introducing 24 hours service at the X-ray department at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, at the laboratory department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and soon will complete the circle of making sure it is true of the pharmacy as well at that facility.”
The third time candidate while speaking to a bell-ringing crowd at a virtual campaign event said that he intends to leave no stone unturned to give the people of this country the best possible deal in health.
He went further to remind the public that under his watch, the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre was upgraded and an isolation facility at Argyle has been built in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A laboratory was also built that provides in-country testing for the coronavirus including random samples across the population.
The Opposition Leader Dr Hon Godwin Friday is however not impressed with Senator Luke Browne’s performance. In reacting to news that the health authorities had received warnings in 2019 from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) about a possible outbreak of the mosquito-borne viral illness causing dengue fever across the region, a visibly upset Friday said:
“Schools are disrupted now; people have died. The Minister of Health dropped the ball. The Minister of Health, if he has any decency, should resign. If he doesn’t resign, then he should be fired because this is something that we should not be dealing with at this time in this matter.”
“We are here in a heightened sense of awareness about disease spread and contagion because of COVID-19. Our response, if anything, should be over the top, preventative, not reacting to a crisis”
But back on the campaign trail, almost in direct rebuke, Minister Browne said, “I have always held the view that our faith will see us through, whatever the future brings.”