An Opposition Member of Parliament has blasted the Freundel Stuart administration for spending $34 million on what he called a monument to late Prime Minister David Thompson.
In a strongly-worded presentation to the House of Assembly today, St Joseph representative Dale Marshall was unapologetic, charging that there was inequity in the way Government was spending taxpayers’ money.
Speaking on a resolution to secure an additional $1.8 million for the St John polyclinic, which now carries Thompson’s name, Marshall insisted that while the administration had spent tens of millions of dollars creating an edifice for the late prime minister, St Joseph residents had to settle for a poorly-maintained clinic at Horse Hill.
However, Minister of Health John Boyce, in his response to Marshall’s broadside, accused the Opposition MP of “pure grandstanding . . . on the eve of a general election”.
Boyce told the House that the Eric Holder Junior Complex in St Joseph was a project conceptualized by the former administration and Marshall should have lobbied for the clinic to be included in the facility which houses a court, post office, welfare department other state facilities in the modern building.
Marshall had earlier described the Horse Hill clinic as the most poorly run health care facility in the country.
“It is time the Government accepts responsibility” for the state of the country, Marshall said, calling on the current administration to stop blaming the Barbados Labour Party for its own mistakes.
He poined out that the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was in power for almost ten years, adding that its members should own the economic and social situation facing the country and stop looking for excuses.
While suggesting that he was happy for the people of St John that they finally got the facility at Gall Hill completed and in operation, Marshall slammed the $34 million spent, saying it was a “manic attempt to complete a DLP vanity exercise”.
The St Joseph MP told the House, “half the time” the doctor assigned at the Horse Hill Clinic was not present, leaving many patients in limbo, while frequently there was no maid, leaving the facility in a “state of uncleanliness”.
Describing a state of neglect at the Horse Hill Clinic, Marshall claimed there were frequent shortages of medication, while at the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex, patients enjoyed the luxury of a gym on site.
Furthermore, the Opposition spokesman called for “fairness” in the distribution of Government resources.
According to him, a society was judged by the way it treated its most vulnerable.
In his wrap up to debate on the money resolution, Boyce touted the work of those in the polyclinic system, while rejecting suggestions that clinics should be operated on a 24-hour basis.
He said while three polyclinics operated extended hours of service, they were not in a position to take the place of the main Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Martindales Road.