By Patrick Clarke
I learnt something from the last Ministry of Health press conference that shocked me. I could not believe my ears. It amounts to a serious indictment on the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache. I believe that lady should resign from her post right now.
It has emerged that the CMO had granted an exemption from pre-rrival testing requirements to a group of persons travelling to SVG on a private aircraft, even though these persons were coming from a “high-risk” country. The CMO tried to justify her decision by basically saying that passengers on a private flight are only a risk to themselves while on the plane. I never heard more nonsense. I would have thought that passengers on any flight are only, basically, a risk to themselves while on the plane. The CMO probably takes us all for fools with her haughty self.
A journalist asked her to say if any of the persons granted exemption subsequently tested positive for COVID on arrival in St. Vincent. She dodged this question and hid behind the excuse that if she was to answer it she would be disclosing confidential patient information. She said that was against her ethical standards. Is she for real? She could not hide her nakedness.
Since when answering a question about if passengers who got exemptions tested positive for COVID became a disclosure of private patient information? The question was posed in general terms and the passengers were never identified. The question strikes me as being fundamentally in the public interest.
What is obvious now is that the CMO wanted to hide the facts. It has emerged that at least two of the passengers on that private plane tested positive for COVID. This revelation has serious implications. The objective of the protocol is to prevent COVID-positive persons from coming into the country. It is a violation of World Health Regulations for someone to travel with an infectious disease. The CMO’s action resulted in breach of the objectives of the protocol that she herself probably helped to get established! That is why I say she should resign right now!
I wonder if any similar exemptions were granted in the past? I would be curious to know the details. I wonder if any money was involved? The Coronavirus Taskforce tries to project the image of rigid enforcement of protocols while behind our backs it may be making exemptions in a way that threatens and undermines the public health and safety of our county.
Someone must be held accountable. A former Minister of Health of The Bahamas had to quit office over a lesser offence. Are we living in a land of anything goes?
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