Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2016 Contents www.tobagotoday.co.tt AUGUST 10-17, 2016
"Call the police!"
That s the appeal being made by the
staff of the Tobago Health
Promotion Clinic (THPC) after 53 vials
of antiretroviral drugs
allegedly went missing from the clinic
after it was moved to the
former pharmacy building in the old
Scarborough hospital at Fort King George.
The appeal comes even as some patients
of the clinic are saying they would prefer
to die than to face stigmatisation and
public scrutiny because of their health
The investigation into the theft is still
ongoing but a new policy for patients to
collect drugs at the new location instead
of the THPC has since angered the
patients, who believe their confidentiality
may be compromised.
Tobago Today first broke the news of
the missing medication.
At that time, a call to the Ag. Commis-
sioner of Police Garfield Moore revealed
that the police had no knowledge of the
incident. This despite the fact that Ag.
Chief Executive Officer of the Tobago
Regional Hospital, Nathaniel Duke, had
told Tobago Today the matter was engaging
the attention of the police.
Since then, TRHA officials have been
told to write an official report on the sit-
uation. Tobago Today obtained a copy of
Dated July 28th and addressed to Dr
Roxanne Mitchell, TRHA Ag. General Man-
ager, it called on the authority to get the
police involved in the matter.
"We recommend an official police inves-
tigation and look forward for future col-
laborations for the benefit of Tobago
patients," the report stated at the end.
It also contained several damning alle-
gations against the TRHA.
The most startling was the accusation
that the theft of the
antiretroviral drugs "is a cover up and
conspiracy to close the
clinic, forcing HIV patients to break
their anonymity." It also
alleged that the act was also done "to
destroy the good name,
reputation and mission of the persons
working at the THPC."
Noting that the Director of Medicine,
Dr Raymond Noel was on a CARPHA
course from July 12-18, when the drugs
were allegedly stolen, it drew reference to
a conversation between TRHA and THPC
officials which pointed out that the keys
for the new clinic were still in the hands
of the TRHA.
"The building was never secured and
handed over to the Director Dr Raymond
Noel by TRHA managers ...because of
ongoing construction, IT and other workers
still access the building, keys are still
indoors ...," the report said.
The report also deemed the act of
removing all the antiretroviral
drugs from the clinic as "contrary to all
structural adherence to the taking of anti-
retroviral" and citing best adherence-prac-
tices as a justification for the statement.
At the moment, patients are filling their
HIV/AIDS prescriptions at the hospital.
But many patients are refusing to do so,
arguing that their confidentiality is being
breached as they have to register at the
hospital. The clinic, at its old venue, gave
the patients a certain amount of anonymi-
ty, as they were identified by a number
and matched against a name that was only
identifiable by the clinic s staff.
The report indicated that "some of the
patients said they would rather die than
be exposed due to their illnesses."
Reached for a comment on the matter,
CEO Duke said, "The TRHA has been dis-
pensing medications to all patients includ-
ing patients with HIV for many years.
"The hospital has weekly infectious dis-
ease clinics where patients with HIV are
followed, which has been ongoing since
2009. There has been no reports of adverse
events as all patients are treated with strict
confidentiality. This is in keeping with
what takes place nationally and allows
patients access to another level of coun-
selling by the pharmacist. A potential crime
has been committed and this is in the
hands of the police."
Leader of the Progres-
sive Democratic Patriots
(PDP) Watson Duke is
accusing the People s
administration of wast-
ing the money sent from
Trinidad for the devel-
opment of Tobago over
the last 16 years.
He made the accusation
as he introduced another
candidate, Dr Faith Breb-
nor, for the upcoming
Tobago House of Assembly
(THA) election next year
during a political meeting
at Lachan s Pad, Belle Gar-
den, last Saturday.
"Forty billion dollars over
16 years and what do we
have to show for it?" Duke
asked the crowd of enthu-
He said the THA has
wasted so much money
that they had not even cre-
ated sufficient economic
capacity to give people job
"Brothers and sisters,
you ask them for a job and
they say the only way you
will get one is if you vote
for them. They are using
the contract system as a
whip to control you," Duke
"The hallmarks of a pro-
gressive society is job secu-
Noting that it was the
right of every citizen to
have a job even if it s in the
private sector, he said the
current administration of
the THA had done little to
ensure the survival of
Duke s speech was punc-
tuated by questions from
a heckler who demanded
to know what was happen-
ing to fishermen, farmers
and young people.
Responding directly to
the heckler, Duke said, "I
will tell you what will hap-
pen to our young. We will
give them jobs and other
forms of security, we will
not leave them idle like this
Duke, who earlier had
been introduced to speak
on the platform by his wife,
Kimberly, told the crowd
he wanted to change the
state of affairs in Tobago as
it related to family life.
He promised that if he
wins the THA elections
women will be given an
additional two and a half
months maternity leave and
men will receive three and
a half months with pay as
opposed to the current five
days they are entitled to.
"Giving men five days is
a part of what happened
on the slavery plantation.
We will change that, you
can t talk equality and
the PDP leader said.
"We will develop this
place child by child, family
by family and that s the
The plan for the devel-
opment of Tobago, dubbed
the "master plan" by can-
didate Brebnor, was one
which itemised how differ-
ent areas of the island will
be developed. One plan is
to have the entire island
zoned, which will consider
"Take for example the
lands between Hope and
Delaford are the most fertile
lands in Tobago, so that
those areas will be mostly
agricultural lands," Brebnor
She also said the "master
plan" will include the cre-
ation of a university of
Tobago as well as the blue-
print to improve the island s
food production capacity.
Speaking from a personal
perspective of why she was
getting involved in politics,
Brebnor said, "It is time to
bring the necessary changes
She said the PDP has
been talking to many peo-
ple "from all walks of life
in Tobago" and was willing
to hear their views on how
the island should progress.
This was one of the rea-
sons there was a suggestion
box at all the party s meet-
ings. It allowed people who
did not want to speak
directly to PDP members
an avenue to communicate
their ideas, she noted.
PDp political Leader Watson Duke launch meeting with elected nominee for Belle Garden Faith Brebnor.
The Launch was held at last Saturday 6th August 2016. Photos Caswell Gordon
PDp party supporters look on attentively during the meeting.
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