Minister of Health Senator Luke Browne, on Wednesday, said he was addressing students at a schools when his ministry was having a press conference, one day earlier, to brief the nation on the dengue fever outbreak in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
iWitness News reported that that Browne was absent from the press conference and he was never mentioned by the health officials who addressed the briefing, which was held one day earlier than originally scheduled.
The minister, in an address on dengue fever, on Wednesday, an audio recording of which the state-owned NBC Radio sent to the media, further said that what his ministry billed as a “press conference” was a “technical forum” with the media.
Inviting the media to the “press conference”, the ministry has noted the COVID-19 protocols and restricted the media to three questions per media entity, as has become the ministry’s practice amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Browne said that the “technical forum with the press” had “paved the way for this statement by me.
“It so happened that at the time of the technical briefing, I was making a presentation to students at one of our schools on what they can do to protect themselves against dengue fever.
“We pay tribute to everyone involved in helping to safeguard the health of our nation at this challenging time,” he said.
“We are still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, which we have managed with good results. And this is compounded by a serious upsurge of dengue cases. We are, of course, rolling out a comprehensive response,” the minister said.
A post on the minister’s “politician” Facebook page said that he had made a presentation at the Dorsetshire Hill Government School on Tuesday on “how they could protect themselves from dengue fever”.
The public health officials who addressed Tuesday’s press conference were Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, Tamara Bobb, epidemiologist; Dr. Jose Davy, infectious diseases specialist; Dr. Mishka Duncan-Adams, consultant paediatrician at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH); Elliot Samuel, chief laboratory technologist; Shamanti Labban, acting Senior Environmental Health Officer; and Neri James Chief Environmental Health Officer.
Browne, we want you at these press briefings so as you can be questioned on your performance and that of your ministry, just as we know that, you know that. That is the reason you found other things to do.
You are way below par in your performance record and we the people want explanations of your personal shortfalls.
We still have the dirtiest, undersupplied hospital in the Caribbean, few come out alive even from such things as a broken bone, attending Kingstown hospital is a death sentence for many. You are responsible, you are the minister, you and your government have failed the people.
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