‘I have done my best’ – Browne
THIS COUNTRY’S minister of health says that he has done his best with the portfolio he has been given in an exceptionally difficult time.
“I am leading you at this time through the COVID-19 pandemic and we are now addressing the outbreak of dengue fever. I have given you the best of my abilities. It has been an intense period of my life but the determination has always been to make this the finest hour for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Luke Browne said at the third Unity Labour Party (ULP) virtual meeting last Wednesday.
Earlier that day, opposition leader Dr Godwin Friday had called on Browne to resign or be fired because according to Friday, Browne’s ministry has “dropped the ball” on the dengue fever outbreak in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
“They dropped the ball but they dropped it on people’s foot because people are hurting, they’re suffering. Schools are disrupted now, people have died…the minister of health dropped the ball,” Friday said. “The minister of health, if he has any decency should resign. If he doesn’t resign, then he should be fired because this is something that we should not be dealing with at this time, in this manner,” Friday said during a press conference of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
As at September 29, there were six dengue fever related deaths and 514 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever in this country.
The outbreak was first noted in June/ July by the Ministry.
Browne, 35, the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate for East Kingstown told listeners that the past five years, under his tenure, has been characterized by monumental improvements in healthcare and environmental services.
He said there has been a transformation of healthcare infrastructure by the opening of an unprecedented number of new facilities including the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown, the Chateaubelair smart hospital, the Buccament polyclinic, the isolation centre in Argyle (done as part of COVID-19 response), the COVID-19 testing lab and the refurbishment of the Levi Latham Health Centre, the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre (upgraded at a cost of $4.1 million), the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and the formation of a temporary elderly home facility at Stoney Ground.
He said that the MCMH has seen many fixes, including work done on the female surgical ward, the operating theatre, the pediatric ward and the kitchen.
“We have a state of the art operating theatre as a result of strategic investment and we will build the acute referral hospital in Arnos Vale,” Browne stated.
The Health Minister said also that at a time like this, when our nation is dealing with an outbreak of dengue fever, he would like to thank the insect vector control workers who are working in the field to keep the country safe.
“I walked a day in their shoes and it gave me a new found respect for their job.
“I would also like to extend my appreciation to the health professionals, the nurses, doctors and everyone else who are putting in the extra effort required to deal with the increased demand for health services.
“We all have a role to play. You could do your part my helping to eradicate mosquito breeding sites and following the general guidance on this subject,” Browne stressed.
Browne will come up against newcomer Fitz Bramble, the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) candidate, in the next general elections.
“The Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment would deal with the mosquitoes and the ULP will fog out the NDP,” Browne said while adding that the ULP will not allow the NDP to form government, “because that would make the country sick.”
He added, “I have always held the view that our faith will see us through whatever the future brings.”