From the simplicity of a medical check-up to the complexity of being in intensive care, the message is clear; even the leaders of our government have no faith in our public medical institutions. If they have no faith in our medical institutions, how can I? The difference is that John and Jane Public have zero resources to draw from and therefore will have to face whatever public hospital that is nearest to them.
By electing to have his medical treatment conducted abroad, the Prime Minister has squandered an opportunity to demonstrate faith in our institutions and by extension, in ourselves. Instead, the message is “go elsewhere whenever you can,” when it could have been: “Let’s do this, we’re in it together”.
Six months ago, the draft diversification roadmap was presented by the Economic Development Advisory Board, (EDAB) to the Government. The committee highlighted health as one of the factors to be overcome in our process of development. There has been no further update on the status of that submission and from his action, the Prime Minister is clearly aware that our institutions cannot even carry out a medical check-up.
Trinidad and Tobago is ripe for a transformation exercise but it must begin with a clear articulation of the goal that is expected to be achieved. Once that goal is articulated, citizens will then be able to identify the personal impact, figure out their benefit or loss, work out whether the result will be fair, and decide how much support they are willing to give to the plan.
It is a cliché to say, “nature abhors a vacuum,” but the reality is that in the absence of clearly articulated goals and objectives, the vacuum is being filled by chatter about the extent to which the government continues to fail in its election promise. Worse than that, the actions of members of the government continue to reinforce that notion that we cannot do better.
In its 2030 vision, the aspiration is for a healthy population. We will not achieve that aspiration with the current approach. What is needed is an energized government willing to rally Team Trinidad and Tobago behind it.
Come on Prime Minister, “Let’s do this!”