Jul 24, 2009 News
…perhaps implementing OP decision is taken for granted
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, was at a loss for words yesterday to explain why the Indian Hospital, Frontier Lifeline, in Chennai, India, did not receive payments outstanding on behalf of Kids First Fund even though it was announced that the government would foot the outstanding balance.
When asked why the hospital, contrary to his report, could report that Government would honour the commitment on behalf of Kids First Fund said that he had noticed the claim made by the hospital and published in the media. “I haven’t had the opportunity after I saw the report to address Minister (Dr Leslie) Ramsammy.”
He did caution that his announcement was made subsequent to the assurance provided to the office that the matter had been dealt with. He said that this was subsequent to the Office of the President’s instruction that be dealt with.
“It could be that implementing the Office of the President decision is taken for granted…but it might have been caught up in other matters at the Ministry.”
Luncheon added that it was his assumption that once “we provide the instruction and the Minister is told that this is what the government position is that it would be implemented in a timely fashion.”
On July 9, it was reported that the Ministry of Health had honoured its commitment by meeting the outstanding payments to the Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai, India, where ten children and two adults from Guyana were detained at the hospital for allegedly defaulting on payment of US$91,250.
News of the payment came from Dr. Luncheon, who at a post-Cabinet media briefing, said that the matter had been dealt with by the Health Ministry and that all the payments to the hospital have been concluded.
The children had been taken to the hospital on June 9, last by former First Lady of Guyana, Varshnie Singh for heart surgery.
It was reported that when they were about to leave the hospital for the airport, they were told that they wouldn’t be able to do so without making a payment. They were made to wait in an enclosure outside the casualty ward.
They then wrote, “please help” on a placard and showed it to media persons waiting outside.
The police were called and complaints lodged.
Later, the patients were moved to their beds and told they would then have to speak to the chairman, Dr K M Cherian.
Varshnie Singh told reporters in Chennai, India, “We have been coming here since 2005 and this is our sixth visit. Each time we came, we brought patients.
We would go back, raise funds through various activities like cycle races, luncheons, comedy shows and then pay the hospital.
“If the hospital has changed its ways, we should have been told before we got here. We don’t have money now. We will have to raise funds and pay them, though I can’t give a deadline.”
However, the Government of Guyana voiced its concern over the incident, and then decided to foot the outstanding payment.
In a statement issued to the media during the incident, the Health Ministry stated, “The Ministry of Health will not support any organization or any individual with funds to leave Guyana unless they can verify with us that they have all the remaining funds to complete all arrangements for services in the countries they are travelling to.
“The Ministry notes that some of the children stranded in India had made requests to the Guyana Government for support and had received such support.”
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