In my April 5 column for the year 2006, captioned, “Cuba’s medical assistance to Guyana; how genuine,” I questioned the sincerity of the Cuban medical scholarship programme to Guyana. That was ten years ago, may I remind readers. Here is an extract from that column; “How many specialists are the Cuban universities sending back among the Guyanese students … the answer is none… all our students are being trained in general medicine…check all the hospitals, and find a Cuban doctor and a Cuban-trained Guyanese doctor. The Cuban is a specialist. The Guyanese is a general practitioner. How much of our medical needs are the Cubans supplying? “
That article went on to discuss the opportunistic and propagandistic nature of the medical scholarship programme, but space will not allow for more extracts. I went on to question the competence of many of those trained doctors. Last Friday, I revisited the subject of this training programme. Of course, in many other columns I had cause to mention the incompetence of some of the Cuban trained Guyanese doctors, because I saw such abysmal failure in the deaths of close people I knew. I have seen the miserable performance at the Georgetown Hospital of many of the returnees over the years even before my 2006 article.
My Friday column was based on a conversation I had with KN’s editor-in-chief, Adam Harris. The topic came up because Harris said that the unemployment of several returnees from Cuba may be due to the failure status of these people. Harris went on to quote Dr. Vivienne Mitchell on the issue of her reluctance, when she was head of the Medical Council, to certify many of these returnees who in fact had grades that were too low to be considered as a pass mark. For more on this, readers can consult Mr. Harris’s column in yesterday’s edition of KN, where he dealt with the imbroglio.
In looking at the question of Cuban training of Guyanese doctors, I can recall in another piece I emphasized the grave danger when a doctor doesn’t know his/her work. I can distinctly remember making the point that you can correct the wrong emanations of a teacher but how can you correct the misplaced diagnosis of a patient who died because of an incompetent doctor. It was because I knew and know of the many tragic mistakes of several of these Cuban trained Guyanese personnel, that I took another look at the debacle involving their competence.
Bharat Jagdeo, writing in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition last week, went berserk over the column. My integrity, scholarship, activism and journalism were confronted, using abrasive and abusive language. I will not answer Mr. Jagdeo for the simple reason he has said all those things about me before, even boasting that he cannot wait to have his day in court when he sued me and this newspaper for libel. He never showed up to give evidence on his own behalf.
The thing about replying to Jagdeo is that what can I say about this flawed failure of a human that I haven’t written before? But there is a question that must be answered. My point was that governmental authorities in the past have interceded with their Cuban counterparts to allow a pass grade for several of these returnees who didn’t make it. This is what got Jagdeo all worked up because he can be accused of complicity in the deaths of many poor people at the Georgetown Hospital who had doctors treating them who should never have been in those hospital wards in the first place. It was under Jagdeo’s presidency that such requests to Cuba were made.
As President, Jagdeo had to know that his high officials were in dialogue with Cuban officials to give these students a pass grade. There is a second reason why Jagdeo was so wild in his ranting about the column. He wants to appear as the defender of these doctors. It is all part of his salvage strategy- to rehabilitate himself and salvage his credibility in the light of the revelations of the forensic audits. We first saw it in May last year, when he turned up at Stabroek Market Square to offer sympathy to the evicted vendors. Walking alongside his security detail, Jason Abdulla, Jagdeo was booed. The vendors accused him of crass hypocrisy. Jagdeo is going to look for anything, no matter how inconsequential, to appear to the Guyanese people that he cares. I stand by my column and Jagdeo can go to hell.
Sep 15, 2019Briton John stormed to victory in the feature 35-lap race of the Triskits Biscuit, Midwest tea biscuit cycle event which was contested yesterday at inner circuit of the National Park. John took an...
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