The revelation in Stabroek News recently, of government spending $361M on medical expenses for officials is expected to have mixed reactions. What this situation is telling me as a person who desires longevity and health, and as a politician who sees politics as a privilege to serve the people, is that this country has a healthcare crisis. This crisis has to be fixed.
The ordinary man and woman will look at $361M in dismay. Some know persons who have died because of prohibitive costs. Some wish their government would do the same for them. Some have resigned themselves to see this is as a case of woe be unto you if you are not well-connected and become sick. Some see this $361M as a trapping and want to cash in.
While diverse views are held on the $361M spending, what unites us is the confirmation that our healthcare system is broken and our government has failed us. Again, in addition to overcrowded hospitals and improper pharmaceutical contracts, the $361M is another indication the Jagdeo/Ramotar PPP has failed to deliver the healthcare the people deserve. The boast of the hundreds of millions budgeted and spent means nothing to the ordinary man and woman who is fearful of the healthcare provided by the state.
Spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to send persons abroad, be it for an upset stomach, dental work, to the complex complaints, is an admission by the Jagdeo/Ramotar leadership of their disregard for governing with compassion and in the interest of all the people.
The pride of every nation lies in the ability of its government to take care of the people. Voters gave Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar the privilege to govern. Both have abused this privilege and failed us miserably, including those who had to seek care overseas. Had Guyana had a proper healthcare system and health insurance plan for government functionaries, the state would not have had to shoulder this financial weight.
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and it must be made affordable and accessible to all. This is a task the new government must take up and execute with haste.
K Sharma Solomon
Regional Chairman, Region 10
APNU-AFC Campaign Chairman, Region10