Refutes contents of ad published on front page of local daily
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) shadow minister of health, Dr. Michael Darville, on Monday defended the former administration, who was heavily criticized by Citizens for Universal Healthcare – a human rights group that purchased a full-page ad in a local on Monday to highlight how the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) had changed since the Free National Movement (FNM) administration took office in 2017.
“Let me make it clear for the general public that this ad is an ad by a group of independent individuals. It’s very inaccurate and the picture does not reflect what took place under the Progressive Liberal Party,” Darville charged.
The ad, published on the front page of The Tribune– which was clearly in support of the work carried out by the FNM administration – stated that the PLP’s success in health is clear as the former administration reportedly left a “sick repugnant legacy” at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
The ad claimed that since 2016, most pediatric wards at PMH have been closed, forcing infants, toddlers and children to wait for days in the Accident and Emergency Department for one of the 16 beds left in the only operational ward at PMH when the normal PMH capacity was 114 beds.
The ad also documented before and after photos of several wards at PMH, and of how they were transformed since the FNM government took office.
The ad said ‘Sandscare’ – referring to health minister Dr. Duane Sands – was resolving years of unconscionable neglect by the PLP, coupled with a toxic combination of politics, systemic corruption, nepotism and lackadaisical leadership, which left PMH in a morally repugnant state.
But yesterday, Dr Darville refuted these claims and insisted that it was the FNM that did not care about health and the wellbeing of Bahamians.
Dr. Darville said instead of blaming the PLP, the government must simply fix the problems.
He also noted that prior to leaving office, his administration left plans in place to rectify the issues at PMH.
“We did extensive renovation work at the Princess Margaret Hospital,” he said. “It’s important to point out that even though we have not completed all the works necessary, particularly at the accident emergency [ward] and the maternity ward, the work and the architectural works were left in place, and it was only for the Free National Movement to move forward and start the necessary repairs.”
“I made it very clear in a press release that the contract was awarded to Guarantee Construction Company on October 2016 and was completed just after we left office. It [the contract] was for the roof and the windows and so it was impossible for the Progressive Liberal Party to go inside and do the necessary repairs inside without securing and making the building water tight.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands said that while the government is working to effortlessly rectify the issue at PMH, funds had to be diverted elsewhere.
“You have to look at this problem holistically. There would have been almost 150 or more beds.
Certainly at least 100 or more beds were taken out of commission and so we’ve managed to get quite a few of them back on stream, but when you look at the male chest ward, the male surgical ward, the children’s ward, the intensive care unit, the Ebola unit and the operating room, all of them were taken out of commission and resources were averted elsewhere. We have had to sequentially deal with all of these issues to bring the hospital back into a workable form,” Dr. Sands said.