Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 14th 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, January 14, 2015
It will be a "sad" day for the
health sector if the president of
the Public Services Association
(PSA), Watson Duke, moves ahead
with plans to shut down the Point
Fortin Area Hospital.
Describing it as an "irresponsible"
act by the PSA which would leave
thousands of citizens without prop-
er health-care, Health Minister Fuad
Khan said work was continuing to
improve the facility. At a press con-
ference on Monday, Duke said the
physical conditions under which
the staff were forced to operate were
squalid and unbearable.
Among issues he listed were the
structural integrity of the building
which was termite-ridden, the
overflowing cesspit, the ceiling
which is collapsing in some places,
the shortage of nursing personnel
and the lack of proper recreational
facilities for both doctors and nurs-
es.Responding to questions yester-
day at the School of Veterinary
Medicine, Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, Khan
urged Duke not to shut down the
hospital in the interest of the pop-
ulation it served.
Khan said: "It s unfortunate if
Duke shuts it down as people will
have no where to go."
Asked if the ministry was
addressing the concerns highlighted
by Duke, Khan said: "It s strange
he brought it up now and not before
this because we have been working
very hard to put staff in place and
we have also increased the medical
equipment at the facility."
Khan said Duke may be unaware
of the conditions before.
"Had he gone earlier, rather than
now, he would have seen how it
was with less equipment and less
staff. Now it has more equipment
and more staff and he is saying
that, so he needs to speak to those
who were there before," Khan
Asked about the ministry s con-
tinuing efforts to import foreign
nurses to work at local public health
institutions and the communication
problems that had arisen as a result
of the language barrier, Khan said
all foreign nurses were trained before
and after their arrival to T&T.
"He (Duke) is not in sync with
what is happening because we don t
have enough local nurses right now
because they are all utilised in the
public health sector and there is a
vacuum so we do need foreign
nurses," Khan said.
He said that Cuban nurses were
exposed to English training pro-
grammes before being selected to
come to T&T as they were inter-
viewed and assessed in English.
They were also required to write
an English exam and upon arrival
they were again exposed to classes
which focused on T&T s dialect,
so they would be able to understand
Khan commended citizens for
becoming proactive in the fight
against the chikungunya virus.
He said while there was a mos-
quito problem in certain areas, it
was generally observed that resi-
dents across T&T had obeyed the
ministry s call for cleaner surround-
ings. Khan assured that the ministry
was continuing to work on erad-
icating mosquito breeding sites.
A sick juror yet again has forced
the adjournment of the trial of 12
men accused of murdering business-
woman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
The case was due to resume yes-
terday and presiding Judge Malcolm
Holdip was expected to give his ruling
on a legal issue which arose during
hearing last week.
However, when it was called in the
Port-of-Spain Second Criminal Court,
Holdip cleared members of the public
from the court and discussed the mat-
ter with lawyers, jurors and alternate
jurors that were present.
After the brief break, Holdip
reopened the court and announced
that the case was adjourned to tomor-
Holdip only indicated that the juror
was ill but did not reveal details of
the illness or nature of the discussions.
Defence attorneys are currently
cross-examining the latest witness to
be called by State prosecutors, homi-
cide detective Insp Suzette Martin.
Martin was the police officer who
conducted several interviews with the
State s main witness Keon Gloster,
who lived in the same community of
Diego Martin as most of the accused
and was allegedly present when
Naipaul-Coolman was killed.
After she completes her evidence,
prosecutors are expected to call 24
more witnesses, including Gloster,
before they close the State s case
against the 12 accused men.
Naipaul-Coolman, 52, was abducted
in front of her home at Lange Park,
Chaguanas, on December 19, 2006.
A $122,000 ransom was paid a day
later but she was not released.
Prosecutors contend that the former
Xtra Foods chief executive was held
captive in a house in La Puerta, Diego
Martin, shared by three of the accused,
before she was eventually shot dead
Her body has never been recovered.
St Lucia Prime Minister and Min-
ister of Finance, Economic Affairs,
Planning and Social Security Dr
Kenny Anthony, has reached out to
the people of St Vincent and the
Grenadines with positive thought and
prayers following a deadly accident
there on Monday.
Five children were killed and two
remained missing up to late yesterday
after a bus with secondary school stu-
dents on their way to class plunged off
There were 19 people on the bus.
In a press release yesterday, Anthony
said he had reached out to his coun-
terpart, Gonsalves, to lend his support.
He said: "Just over three years ago,
we suffered similar tragedy in Saint
Lucia and this must be a very difficult
time for our friends and neighbours in
"Dr Gonsalves called this a tragedy
of national proportion, but a loss of
this nature touches all of us throughout
the region and draws us closer together
as a people.
"It is never easy to deal with an acci-
dent of this magnitude and the sorrow
and pain are magnified when children
"I call on my fellow St Lucians to
spare a thought and say a prayer for
those families, who must be in such
turmoil right now.
"Our children are of paramount
importance and I take this opportunity
to add my voice, my thoughts and
prayers for the schools, the communities
and the homes that have been impacted
by the terrible accident that took place
on Monday morning."
As of yesterday, the Coast Guard and
police in St Vincent and the Grenadines
continued rescue and recovery efforts
in the rough seas off the north coast.
Sad day if Duke
shuts down Point
'Improvement works continuing'
Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan, right, speaks with PAHO\WHO
representative Dr Bernadette Theodore-Gandi during yesterday's
opening of a workshop on strengthening integrated surveillance of
food-borne diseases and antimicrobial resistance at the School of
Veterinary Medicine, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
At left, is Gregg Rawlins, representative of the Inter-American Institute
for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA). PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
St Lucia's PM reaches out to St Vincent
Juror sick so trial adjourned again
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