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Burglars break into four health centres and take medication

Burglars break into four health centres and take medication

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With recent break-ins at several clinics across St Vincent, the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment strongly believes that persons are specifically targetting these institutions, and is urging them to desist.

Speaking with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, Luis de Shong confirmed that just over two weeks ago, there was a theft from the Sion Hill Health Centre, in which the clinic’s {{more}}insulin supply was stolen – along with other medical supplies (mostly diabetic) and computer-related equipment.

However, this was the third time the clinic was burglarized in the past eight to nine months, according to Superintendent Ruth Jacobs, head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

De Shong also revealed that more recently, he had received reports of burglaries at the clinics in Fancy, Retreat and Calder.

Making an appeal to persons responsible for the thefts, he implored: “I am urging them to appreciate that they deprive our regular clients of their medicines – for example hypertension and diabetes… They also cause the Government to increase expenditure when the clinic was adequately stocked with these supplies of medication…

“It’s really unfair. Not just to the nation and the public purse, but also to the persons who depend on the support that they get from the health sector… for their chronic conditions. I am making a call to these people to really desist… To understand and appreciate that they are really doing more harm than good to the very people in their communities.”

Supt Jacobs disclosed to SEARCHLIGHT that one man had been arrested and charged – and is now out on bail – in connection with the thefts; charged with unlawful possession and intimidating a witness.

The suspect pleaded not guilty to the charges and is expected back in court at a later date.

“The matter is still under investigation,” explained the CID head.

She also noted that even though she has not noticed a pattern of regular thefts at clinics throughout SVG, it is not to say that this is not an issue that needs curbing before it gets out of hand.

In regard to the thefts at the Sion Hill centre, de Shong further added: “It’s unfortunate because the building that houses the Sion Hill Health Centre seems to be a target for people. Every time they burglarize the place, we get BRAGSA to go in… to do all the required repairs. For some reason, they find a way inside still. I believe it is the location. At nights, it’s a little isolated and persons realize that they can benefit from the unauthorized entry.”

The Permanent Secretary also issued a call for persons in the various communities to refrain from buying medication and medical supplies from unauthorized persons.

“My chief pharmacist had said that he had got information, which we shared with the police, that somebody from the Sion Hill community had been spotted attempting to sell medical supplies recently,” he recalled.

“My call also is for persons to understand when unauthorized sellers of medicines and medical supplies come to their doorsteps, they should not purchase from them – no matter the cost.”(JSV)

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