Businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams wants Barbadians to stop criticizing the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and to support it financially.
Williams made the emotional appeal today as he made a donation of $100,000 to the hospital’s Eye Surgery Theatre (QUEST) and Lions Eye Care Centre project on behalf of his group, Williams Industries Inc.
The money will go towards the purchase of critical pieces of equipment for the ophthalmic theatre suite and recovery rooms.
“Thanks to the 800-plus industrious people who constitute Williams Industries I am blessed again to lead this company and to be in position to give back to the hospital,” he said just before handing over the cheque.
Williams also gave the Martindales Road, St Michael institution two thumbs up for the service he and his brother Sir Charles Williams received some time ago, while defending the QEH against its critics.
“I have heard many people criticize this hospital but I can say from personal experience that I have had excellent treatment here,” the businessman said while fighting back tears.
“I believe the people who criticize the hospital nonstop should find ways to try to help it to improve,” he added.
Williams, who had broken one of his legs in May 2015 following an accident on a construction site and now carries a titanium rod in that leg, said he was given the opportunity to go to the US for surgery but had opted for treatment at the QEH instead because “I was certain that my leg can be fixed here”.
Williams, who is an electrical engineer by training, also revealed that the QEH was one of the first institutions for which he produced electrical drawings.
He therefore feels obligated to play a critical part in the hospital’s development and is already hinting at the possibility of more financial support.
“If we could do this every year instead of just on the occasion of our 50th anniversary [of independence] it would make me very, very happy,” Williams said.
“I am urging every Bajan to embrace this hospital because it is the property of the people of Barbados. It is our hospital and I urge all of us to do whatever we can to show the staff here that we care about them and our hospital and we want it to be the best it can be,” he added, while urging the staff of the QEH to take pride in their job and do it to the best of their ability despite a shortage of resources.
Back in September, the hospital launched a fund-raising drive in the hope of completing a $2.5 million upgrade of the QUEST and Lions Eye Care Centre early in the next financial year, which begins in April 2017.
Today, Minister of Health John Boyce joined with the QEH’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Dexter James in welcoming the donation by Williams Industries.