– Ramsammy urges victims to file complaints with Health Ministry
By Keeran Singh
Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has confirmed that he has received complaints of physicians and other public health employees soliciting financial contributions from their patients.
The minister was responding to a Kaieteur News query about allegations of Guyana-based Cuban doctors accepting monetary and other gifts from patients for medical services.
He added that this is unacceptable and the Ministry is trying to control this situation but needs the public’s co-operation.
Ramsammy stressed that patients utilizing public health treatment should refuse to pay for services and complain formally with supporting evidence to his Ministry.
“Generally speaking I do believe it happened and we have cases where doctors no longer work with us. It is due process and there is a need to document complaints,” he stated.
Kaieteur News has received several complaints about some Cuban doctors providing preferential treatment to patients who reward them with gifts including Blackberry phones, I-Pods and cash.
A local medical staffer alleged that this malpractice has contributed to the lengthy waiting hours patients encounter at these public facilities.
Kaieteur News was told that at the Leonora Cottage Hospital, West Coast Demerara, where there are reportedly seven Cuban doctors and one Guyanese doctor, the waiting period for the ‘poor’ is lengthy, while the more affluent are prioritized.
According to a source, this situation was so alarming at the health facility that patients openly complained and a meeting was recently held to address the matter. However, some employees believe that the culprits are still involved in this practice.
This situation reportedly also exists at another diagnostic centre in Region Four.
Some of the Cuban doctors stationed at the Leonora Cottage Hospital are also being accused of conducting private practices utilizing the hospital’s medical supplies.
It was noted that medications go missing from shelves and some patients who visit the hospital for follow-up treatment would reveal that a certain doctor visited their homes and performed certain procedures.
In relation to this, Dr. Ramsammy stated that the Cuban doctors should not be in private practice. He posited that patients should provide names of the doctors who are involved so that appropriate action can be taken.
The Minister further noted that the same persons who complain are the ones encouraging the situation.
In addition, the health sector has been trying to have accountability in health facilities but there is room for the misappropriation of medical supplies.
Patients have been complaining that there is a serious language barrier between the Cuban doctors and themselves. This has resulted in them depending on the Guyanese nurses for clarification.
Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran stated that the Cuban doctors have been exposed to English classes to help them interact with patients but according to Cuban doctors they never attended any classes. Whatever English they know was learned in Cuba and it was expanded through interaction with patients.
Dr. Ramsaran further noted that the Ministry is pairing doctors so that both Cuban and Guyanese doctors work together. However, this cannot be done at the Leonora Cottage Hospital because there are seven Cuban doctors and only one Guyanese doctor.
However, one medical practitioner noted that despite the shortcomings, the Cuban medical staffers provide important services for Guyanese. It was emphasized that the 300 medical students scheduled to return home in 2012 would not be able to provide these services like these specialists
Parliamentarians cite overpayment to contractors, breaches by GECOM, Police, GPHC,
Taxpayers’ money continues to be spent in breach of the law, a group of Parliamentarians looking at the management of public finances has found, and the opposition feels the non establishment of a Public Procurement Commission adds to the lack of transparency and accountability.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), comprising Parliamentarians of the governing and opposition parties, have completed their assessment of public spending for the years 2007 and 2008.
They say that their concerns about breaches in financial regulations then, continue today.
Volda Lawrence of the main opposition PNCR chairs the PAC. She said that for 2007, the Committee expressed concerns in 13 areas, while there were 14 areas of concern for 2008.
“These concerns which adversely affected the financial management system in those years still exist to date,” she said in the National Assembly yesterday.
However, she said there has been some improvement and change in attitude by accounting officers.
A major concern Lawrence cited is the non-establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, which she said is provided for in nine articles of the constitution.
She noted that the National Procurement Act provides for specific functions of the Public Procurement Commission.
Lawrence said that the PAC is mandated to submit names of nominees for the Commission to National Assembly, but has been unable to do so since the government has not suggested its nominees.
“This delay has hampered the effective scrutiny and transparency of the procurement of goods and services and the execution of works to promote fair competition among suppliers and contractors. More so it hampers transparency in the procurement process,” Lawrence declared.
The constitution provides for the Commission to comprise persons of various professions and Lawrence said that the PNC submitted its names since 2003, with two replacements due to death.
Member of the Public Accounts Committee, Lance Carberry said that the ruling PPP had submitted its names but when those names were to be considered, the ruling party said that it was withdrawing them and would submit a new list. That new list was submitted and then withdrawn.
Donald Ramotar of the ruling PPP, said the fact is that in order to accelerate the work, the PPP, being the majority party in Parliament, suggested that it submit three nominees and the PNC would submit two nominees.
However, Ramotar said this did not find favour with the PNC.
Lawrence expressed hope that the Commission could be established before the current Parliament is dissolved to make way for elections later this year.
“While the appointment of a Public Procurement Commission now will be equivalent to closing the stable gates after the horses have bolted, and would not correct the lack of scrutiny and transparency which occurred during this Parliament, it may guarantee transparency during any future government,” Lawrence stated.
Among the breaches to financial regulations Lawrence cited was the matter of over payment to contractors by ministries and regions. She said that in many of projects allocated to contractors, payments are made, or are supposed to be made, on a certification of completion.
On inspection of the projects, however, Lawrence said it has been noted that there has been non-adherence to specifications.
For example, in the construction of doctor’s quarters at Charity and a medical clinic in Pomeroon, she said there were changes in the quality and quantity of materials used. She said doors were missing, floors were not completed and grill work was not in place, yet a certificate of completion was issued.
Lawrence lamented that the money is not easily recouped because contractors have already been paid based on the “so called” certification of completion issued by Regions and Ministries.
The PAC has recommended that officers and consultants who affixed their signatures to certificates of completion in which over payments are found should be sanctioned or surcharged where necessary.
Lawrence said that the Committee has expressed concern over the possible collusion between contractors and officials of agencies. As a result, the PAC has recommend that legal action be taken where necessary and that regional officials make log make entries when visiting projects with a view to having records that could be used for audit verifications.
Non-clearance of advances was another issue cited by the PAC. It feels the Accountant General’s office is unable to keep track of the clearance of conference advances to public officials in a timely manner and this reflects negatively on the consolidated funds.
She said that there continues to be large un-cleared advances and that many of these are for persons who may have exited the system or who are deceased.
The Committee noted several agencies which continue to have not cleared advances. In Region Nine, she said the matter has been ignored. She said the amount in question is $7.1 million, paid out to regional executive officers, members of the Regional Democratic Council, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force as advances.
Despite several promises to have these advance cleared, to date this has not occurred, Lawrence pointed out.
She also pointed out that breaches by the Guyana Police Force.
According to Lawrence, only this week, she had cause to write the Commissioner of Police regarding the non-submission of reports concerning a number of issues with respect to loss of public property, amounting to $75.8 million for matters going as far back as 1993.
The PAC has stated that where discrepancies have been noted, measures should be instituted to avoid recurrences, but unless the Police provide requisite reports, matters of this nature would not be addressed.
Regarding subvention agencies, Lawrence said the list of these agencies breaking the law is “inexhaustible.”
She said it is alarming that at each presentation of the PAC report, this concern is addressed, but the subvention agencies continue to default in provision financial statements. In these cases, she said it is difficult to ascertain accountability and transparency for the appropriations.
Lawrence pointed out that the National Trust has never submitted financial statements since its establishment.
In addition, she said the state planning secretariat, which ought to have been dissolved several years ago, continues to exist and receive a subvention, but has not submitted a report since 1991.
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is also guilty of not submitting financial statements since its establishment in 1999.
She said that the Corporation by not returning revenues generated to the consolidated fund is in clear violation the law, which states that “all public monies raised or received by the government shall be credited fully and promptly to the consolidated fund.”
While the PAC has reported and spoken of this breach of the law, the hospital continues to flout the regulation without any sanction being imposed.
Regarding the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) the PAC said there is a “blatant breach” of financial regulations, including the Commission’s alleged interference with the work of the accounting officer. The PAC is preparing a special report on GECOM.
Meanwhile, the PAC has concluded its work regarding public spending in 2009 and is looking to table that report before the end of the Ninth Parliament.
The People’s Progressive Party on Thursday condemned the vandalism of its election campaign billboard erected between the East Coast of Demerara roadway and the Russian Embassy turn.
The billboard depicts the Presidential Candidate and General Secretary of the party, Mr. Donald Ramotar.
When we visited the area today, streaks of tar or manure were visible on the billboard. Some were seen on the lips of the Ramotar image. The Party headquarters said it has been receiving a number of complaints by citizens complaining it was an eyesore, this was even before it was tar or manure was flung at it.
Bharrat Jagdeo is delusional, Guyana does not have money to even build a bus depot, much less build a railway.
This is the PPP government attempt to bring the dismantling of the last railway into public discourse as an election gimmick. The president should come out and say outright that the PNC got rid of the railway, instead of promising a railway to poor people, that will never materialize in his lifetime. This is PPP’s way of getting re-elected at all cost.
The reason that Jagdeo is saying this and not Donald Ramotar, or the PPP, is that years down the road when people ask where is the “promised railway”, PPP can always claim that Bharrat Jagdeo was delusional and on the way out when he made that promise, so the people cannot hold the PPP responsible. Jagdeo claims of increasing population highlights his delusional ramblings, since more than 150,000 Guyanese run from Guyana every decade, legally that is.
Jagdeo’s talk about hospitals and schools leave much to be desired, currently at Georgetown hospital patients share one bed, schools all over Guyana are in a deplorable condition, many have no windows, washroom are nothing more than pit latrines.
The president should have talked about how Guyana depends heavily on remittance and cocaine dollars to keep the economy growing, about Clico, florida real estate, promoted the failed Clico boss to the Guysuco board etc.
Railway system to be re-established in Guyana
A railway system would be re-established from Diamond, East Bank Demerara, to Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, says President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Guyana was the first country on the South American mainland to establish a railway. The first section, from Georgetown to Plaisance was opened on November 3, 1848.
The then government scrapped the railway in 1972 at the time fuel was cheap and the railway had become uneconomical. But oil did not stay cheap. By the mid-1970s the first oil crisis hit, fuelled by the war in the Middle East.
At the time it was scrapped the railway system had stretched from Rosignol in Berbice to Parika in Essequibo.
The then Prime Minister, the late Ptolemy Reid, later expressed regret at scrapping the railway.
Where the railway track was, is now the Railway Embankment.
Re-establishing this transport system is being done to offset the expected increasing traffic congestion on the East Bank Demerara in light of the housing and commercial expansions in the stretch, Presdient Jagdeo said.
His comments came at the one-stop exercise to award about 1,000 persons with house lots in the new housing development at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
At the One Stop Shop activity held on Thursday at the National Stadium, Providence where the lots were distributed, President Jagdeo revealed that Government would be accessing more land from GuySuCo to expand housing.
He noted that two years ago Government purchased the land from GuySuCo for $4B and it is now being distributed as such this is not an election gimmick. Furthermore, Government would be acquiring more land from the entity.
It was revealed that in the first phase Government is seeking to establish 10,000 house lots.
Other improvements earmarked for the transportation sector are the extension of the four-lane road from Providence to Timehri and an alternative road would be constructed from Mocha to Ogle.
Moreover, the provision of jobs for the increasing population would be available as a shopping mall would be constructed and three call centres are expected to setup businesses in the area. In addition a new modern airport would be constructed.
However, land space would be left for commercial industrial development.
The East Bank would also benefit from additional secondary schools so that children can attend learning institutions close to their homes.
Already, the district has a hospital at Diamond and with the 300 doctors that are expected to return home soon would boost the facility’s human resources capacity.
President Jagdeo emphasized that in America 10 million persons lost their homes owing to the economic crisis and four million persons are expected to loose the homes as they are in the foreclosure market. In addition, millions have lost their jobs.
However, unlike the Caribbean countries Guyana’s economy kept growing owing to preparatory works done in relation to fiscal management.
Guyana’s budget is $164B and the country is borrowing less and spending more of its own money. Previously the country was borrowing more than it could have afforded and this resulted in a high foreign debt.
Two-patient per bed at GPHC to end next month
By next month the two-patient per bed scenario in the Male Medical Ward at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation is expected to be over with the completion of the new building in the hospital’s compound facing Lamaha Street.
According to Michael Khan, Chief Executive Officer of the institution, this situation occurs when there are more patients than the facility can accommodate and it is against the hospital’s policy to turn patients away.
He added that beds are currently being shifted to the new building.
When Kaieteur News visited the hospital yesterday approximately 10 bunk beds had two patients per bed in the Male Medical Ward, which was upsetting to the patients. Kaieteur News spoke to patients who were sharing beds. Five of the adult males were suffering from malaria while one was also suffering from typhoid and diabetes.
Concerned about the medical implications such a situation poses to the patients, one of the doctors at the institution declined to comment.
There are reports that similar scenarios exist on occasions in other sections of the hospital.
|Written by realTalk|
|Sunday, 12 June 2011 13:31|
|Many Guyanese blindly support the PPP government and are either not aware or choose to ignore the severe effects of crime that have tormented Guyana and continue to do at alarming rates. All the talk about the 40 and 50 year old events that took place in this country under the PNC is but a tiny speck when compared to the very large ever spreading blotch painted in blood that continues to run on the fabric of our society.
A few months after the dawn of the new era of democracy in Guyana in 1992, Monica Reece was flung from a speeding car on Main Street Georgetown. It was to mark the beginning of a vile and treacherous era of organized crime in Guyana. To trace the birth and rise of organized crime in Guyana during the last 19 years would require a book. No column can do justice to the darkest period of our history.
The Guyana Police Force unfortunately played a crucial role in the nurture of crime in the Guyanese society through its ambivalence with regard to its crime solving ability. The wanton engagement in extrajudicial killings began in the mid-90s and rose to dizzying levels with the ‘Black Clothes’ wreaking havoc on the unsuspected and the unprepared. These events, from little Jermaine in Albouystown in the late 90s to Shaka Blair and Yohance Douglas in 2002 and the others that followed, place the Guyana Police Force in a very precarious position where extrajudicial killings in Guyana are concerned.
With extrajudicial killings rapidly intensifying in the 90s, it did not come as a surprise when the disgraced former US Embassy employee, Mr. Thomas Carol, identified members of the ‘Black Clothes’ as being his muscle used to extort monies from persons caught up in his ‘Back-Track’ scheme. This did not mean that members of the Force were disciplined. No. This new era of democracy saw the wanton rewarding of incompetence. The elite ‘Black Clothes’ police continued their vicious work of taking lives, instead of solving crime.
The prison break of 2001 introduced Guyanese to a display of unrestrained violence never seen before. According to the Police, the escapees allegedly went on a robbing and murdering spree in Georgetown and other parts of Guyana. There was much violence in Georgetown, the East Coast and some parts of Berbice. And soon every robbery and murder was being pinned on the escapees. This led to an all-out man hunt countrywide for this band of robbers and murderers.
What happened as a result of this wave of terrorism in Guyana was the rise of a self-appointed vigilante, drug lord and businessman Saheed Roger Khan. He said he offered his expertise to the government and played a very instrumental role in bringing the escapees to justice. How could a criminal fugitive from the United States of America – a drug lord – assist in fighting crime? It is incomprehensible.
Dead bodies started surfacing all over Georgetown with multiple bullet wounds with no apparent explanation. This went on for a few years. Certain alleged drug kingpins were also terminated. And so it seemed as if amongst the eradication of the escapees, a teeming turf war had ensued. The emergence of George Bacchus and his revealing testimony that introduced Guyanese to the startling connection shared by the government and Mr. Khan’s outfit shed new light on the level of violence that was being perpetrated. George Bacchus execution-style death generated several questions that remain unanswered to this day.
Strangely, the recently concluded manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man bears some striking similarities to our local hunt for the escapees. The same way Mr. Bin Laden was found living comfortably in luxury in the midst of suburban Pakistan not far from its military school is the same way some of our escapes were found in the suburban Georgetown area of Lamaha Gardens, a few doors from the then Minister of Home Affairs. They were killed there.
The kidnapping of a former US Embassy employee saw the embassy issuing a one million dollar reward for the capture of Shawn Brown (one of the notorious escapees). However, less than a week after that Brown was traced to a luxurious home in another suburban part of Georgetown in an area called Prashad Nagar and was gunned down allegedly during a firefight with security forces.
While the joint services operation was combing the harsh backlands of Buxton, the escapees enjoyed life in very quiet neighborhoods in Georgetown. What was the support system offered to them and by whom? Was the jailbreak a quest for freedom or was there an underlying more sinister motive involved?
Mr. Khan himself is now in jail in the US and his trial revealed many things about the role of certain government ministers in his paramilitary organisation’s role in Guyana. The ‘thin’ brothers, Fine Man and Skinny, are all also off the scene, yet carefully organised drive-by shootings continue to occur.
Ronald Waddell, along with over 200 other Guyanese, was executed during that dark period in our history. A serving Minster of the Government was assassinated in 2006; a prominent businessman was abducted in 2008, clinically beheaded and subsequently dumped in the city. When government politicians talk about blood on the hands of other politicians from the 70s, what do they really mean? Is Guyana safer today than it was in the 1973? Has more blood been shed during this new era of democracy or when the PNC ruled?
The views expressed in this and other columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Demerara Waves.
Visa man, DNA man, goat-bitten man, semi-literate man
Mr. Clement Rohee looks set to displace his boss Bharrat Jagdeo as the politician most people in Guyana laugh at. Mr. Rohee has only himself to blame. West Indian love to mock their politicians. Add to that the evocative sense of humour that West Indians possess and you have a non-stop theatre of fun directed at politicians.
Obviously, Mr. Rohee is not well read in Caribbean sociology. If he had, then he would be more sensitive about the words he uses.
He told the press that he cannot see why he shouldn’t try to become president of the Republic because “goat ain’t bite meh.” Then he said he has the DNA to be president, obviously confusing DNA with genes.
The other day, he explained that his visa was refused in 2004 by the US Embassy because he burned a flag outside the same embassy in the late sixties when the PPP was in opposition.
The hilarity in this one is that a man came from outer space in 2004, landed in the US Embassy and showed the Ambassador where Rohee had burned the flag 44 years ago therefore his visa should be denied. The joke was on Rohee because he didn’t light a piece of paper much less a flag. Fun and comic strip follow Rohee wherever he goes.
Of course mentioned should be made of the PNC’s allegation that he confused Dominica with the Dominican Republic.
The circus continues with Rohee. He published a letter last week in both independent dailies ranting against relentless anti-government critics who appear in the KN and SN. Now brace yourself for some jokes. Read these words from Rohee; “They are being given too much attention.”
So who are giving these anti-government critics “too much attention?” It can’t be the Government. So it has to be the Guyanese population. So either the population is stupid to read these people that Rohee refers to as “critics, cynics, pessimists, absolutists and narcissists” or they believe what these people write.
Here are some more jokes from Mr. Rohee. I quote him; “We need to write too and not allow them to dominate the pages of the non-state media … There are lots of people out there who want us to answer these persons.”
What a monumentally stupid man is Clement Rohee. For five consecutive years, the Chronicle has carried on a yearly basis, hundreds of letters on me saying the vilest things about me. I assume Rohee reads the Chronicle.
Since 2011 began, there is at least one each day, making it 30 letters per month.
PPP supporters have three newspapers available to them – Chronicle, Mirror and Guyana Times – and four television stations – 11, 28, 65 and 69 and NCN radio. Now they have started a scatological blog run by a man this newspaper referred to as semi-literate who was put in his job at GINA by the President himself. No wonder people laugh at Rohee. A PPP politician has to be a fool to write the following words, “There are lots of people out there who want us to answer these people.”
In other words, this man is telling you that for the 19 years he has been a Minister and his party has been in power, their views have not been made composed and published even though the Chronicle carries a daily dose of PPP propaganda and the Guyana Times was born with the specific intention of supporting the PPP Government.
How can any citizen respect this man when he spouts such repellant nonsense?
Here are some more asininities from Rohee; “It is from the pages of certain dailies that they are given safe haven to launch their diatribes towards the PPP.”
Sorry to correct you goat-man but it should read “diatribes against” not towards. But these very dailies are desperately sought by the PPP leaders themselves. They read them before they read their own Chronicle.
Hydar Ally has now joined Prem Misir in sending two letters per week to the two independent dailies. Misir once requested to be a columnist with one of those dailies.
At the end of the day, Rohee, Misir, Hydar Ally and many other PPP leaders end up looking foolish and idiotic because their boss, Bharrat Jagdeo, addressed a dinner of the business community and strongly advocated a boycott of the Kaieteur News.
Here is a moral dilemma that goat-man needs to explain. How can you bring red cool aid to the work place when your boss who pays you has demanded a boycott of that type of drink? Goat not only bit Rohee but devoured his brain.