TAIPEI, Taiwan: Vincentians have been encouraged to condemn statements by the opposition party’s spokesman regarding a study of disability to be conducted by Cubans in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Minister of Health Dr. Douglas Slater told Parliament on Thursday that comments by E.G. Lynch, host of the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) daily radio programme, were “malicious and irresponsible”.
Slater said Cuban health care professions will help to identify the number of disabled Vincentians, the nature and cause of their disability, and, where possible, prevent further disability.
The one-month clinical and genetic study plans to carry out more accurate research works and medical consultations.
It is being done with assistance from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) in collaboration with ministries of education and social development
The Cuban team, which will be accompanied by Vincentian health care providers, comprises 36 experts in genetics, psychology, computing and statistics and other specialties.
Slater said Lynch described the Cuban health care personnel as “crack heads” and encouraged Vincentians to chase them away and set dogs on then when they visit their homes.
“Unless the NDP can rebuke that and object to [Lynch’s comments], they too must also be condemned,” Slater said.
The study, the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, will also help in addressing social issues relating to disabled Vincentians.
Slater said it formed part of the Unity Labour Party administration’s policy of paying special attention to the needs of the disabled.
“A nation that does not respond to those special needs is really one that isn’t worth regarding as a nation that cares for its people,” he said. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
He said that the University of the West Indies and the medical fraternity in SVG welcomed the study and government officials have considered the ethical issued involved.
It hopes to provide prostheses, hearing aids, spectacles and “any other implements that may help to improve the standard of living of our unfortunate disadvantaged citizens,” Slater said.
“What could ever be wrong with that? How could any responsible political organisation allow this to be publicly criticised, calling highly trained scientist … crack heads?”
He said his government was not “concerned about who is this or that”.
“[We don’t] care if the help comes from America or Canada or Venezuela [as long as] the benefit is to our people, and that is how we should see it,” Slater said.
The first study of this nature was done in Cuba while similar studies have been done in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.