The Government last year spent EC$335,826.08 (EC$1=US$0.37) on the medical bills of a young man involved in an accident in which the driver and the vehicle were uninsured.
Prime Minster Dr. Ralph Gonsalves spoke of the incident in Parliament last week but did not identify the driver or the injured man.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, noted that he had told legislators the previous week that almost every day he has to address the question of state assistance in meeting medical expenses.
He said the accident was “terrible” and the Government “had to send him (the injured man) different places overseas.
“It’s close to $200,000 I had to spend,” Gonsalves said, adding that a Special Warrant had to be issued to meet the expenses.
“I want to show you the heart of this government. … in fact, the Honourable Minister of Education, … she’s just shown me also that the bill has come in for the air ambulance which had taken him to Barbados, and this was US$21,975. The total amount which we have spent in this regard on this particular young man is $335,826.08,” he said to applause.
“… and by the way, this is the sum through the Office of the Prime Minister,” Gonsalves further added.
“There are additional monies through Social Welfare, additional monies through Community Development and through Housing and also through the Ministry of Education and through the Ministry of Health itself,” he said.
“… it is a motor vehicle accident and the person who was driving the vehicle and the vehicle, they were not insured,” he further said. “… you have a man of straw who knock down somebody. What you going to do? I can’t leave the young man to die.”
Gonsalves said that when these things happen, some “more-hardnosed” public officials “grumble that I am spending too much money in this regard.
“But I am pleased to say that the young man has made good improvement and he is the joy of his family’s life and I give thanks and praise to Almighty God,” he says.