An artist’s impression of the new hospital that the NDP is proposing to build. (Image: NDP)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

“FarmVille” – seemed repugnant to an overwhelmingly majority!

Obnoxiously, this is the name given to the opposition vision for a new and improved healthcare system for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). For me, this name is an extremely distasteful and an unacceptable description. Furthermore, in the minds of many Vincentians as long as the opposition leader emulates the virtue of good governance and a well-formulated capital structure this project will flourish.

What the government’s advocates failed to realise and admit is the huge gap in the system they’ve created, and the government‘s decade-long activities, which does not convinced the masses that it has an organised plan of operation for the infectious healthcare sector.

But, some things never change, referring to the appalling conditions at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown and other centres. After so many promises to deliver proper healthcare to patients, the dysfunctional public health system continues to pose grave threat to the health of Vincentian patients.

Healthcare has emerged as one of the largest and important sectors in SVG where the majority of health care services is the responsibility of the state.

In the din of a decelerating economy, rampaging inflation, skyrocketing taxes, and incessant political manoeuvring, SVG catalogue of challenges continues to grow. Analysing this list, the healthcare system seemed insurmountable already and if not corrected soon can become a calamity — aggravating the sufferings of thousands of Vincentians alarmingly affected.

In fact, a huge demographic of the country’s population rely heavily on the country’s overstretched and underfunded public health system. More so, these demographics, taking the condition of the healthcare environment into consideration – argue that the government is supposedly spending less than 1 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare services; however, careful investigation was consummated and according to the World Bank, total health care expenditure, which covers the provision for health services — preventative and curative — family planning and nutrition activities, and emergency aid designed for health, indicated that the government of SVG spent a mere 5.3 per cent of GDP in 2013 from 5.4 in the previous year. Besides, the World Health Organization (WHO) also confirms that the government spent 5.3 per cent of GDP on healthcare in 2013.

Now it is clear why there is a shortage of healthcare facilities and services in government hospitals and health centres around the country. Currently, affordable and reliable healthcare are still illusions in government hospitals and clinics.

Recently, on a government radio show, one of its surrogates briefly bragged about the hospital in Bequia. Immediately, I contacted sources, but the findings belied the picturesque view of the announcer’s concocted story. This structure is in no way a fix to the growing healthcare problems; rather it is an effort to gain popularity and votes in the northern Grenadines where the ruling party seemed obsolete.

People are asking, why the government did not take the millions and millions of dollars it spent on hand-outs — lumber, galvanize, cement and steel — to improve the dilapidated healthcare infrastructure? Moreover, people are suggesting that a proper healthcare system can sustain good living for a lifetime, while a few pieces of building materials, once every five years, cannot even complete a single room!

Confidently, behind every failed government there is a visionary opposition!

Hence, in response to SVG’s growing healthcare problem the New Democratic Party (NDP) has unveil the ultimate plan — a cogent proposition that has overshadowed the Argyle International Airport (AIA). In my opinion, most Vincentians — the government’s and opposition’s fanatics and the other parties’ supporters analysed the information and buttressed the plan, has dismissed the current neglected healthcare system, which puts the past healthcare environment light years ahead of the current.

Learning this, the government’s abusive and insensitive catalyst immediately castigated the plan and caustically likened the new healthcare plan to “FarmVille” — one of Zynga’s farming simulation social network games where players cultivate their farms and care for their animals.

Here, they have the effrontery to insult Vincentians, as “FarmVille” is a place where animals are being cared for. For me, this is not a coincidence — with healthcare in such abysmal state we have to be seen as animals in the sight of the government for them to make such comparison — presenting the proposed hospital project, equivalent to an online simulation farm. Knowing the government fell asleep under the wheel and in so doing hospitalized the healthcare system up to this point of no recovery, is displaying a complete lack of feelings and consideration.

In light of this, the people want the government’s surrogates to know that their analogy is a deceitful tactic, packed with political chicanery.

As a matter of fact, if the government were imaginative and attentive, would learn immensely from “FarmVIlle” — how to cultivate farms by ploughing, planting and harvesting crops and trees, and by now the Geest boat will be leaving SVG filled with bananas and other locally cultivated products; instead of spouting gibberish about the proffered healthcare system, which has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of all Vincentians.

The vast majority are voicing their disgust and asking the insurgents to quit making gratuitous comments about the well-thought-of and state-of-the-art proposed healthcare project, as no one asked for their opinion — with this I concur.

Call it what you want, during your regime’s tenure they slumbered in grace, now they’ve awaken by the new and improved “FarmVille.” The pathetic condition of the government health centres will soon be a pain of the past, weaning Vincentians of the current chronic setbacks.

Like it or not, “FarmVille” is here to stay!

D. Markie Spring

 

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].