Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Health in SVG

‘Developed countries diseases’ a major challenge in St. Vincent
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 19, IWN – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has lauded primary and secondary health care here but said “developed countries diseases” continue to be a challenge.
“These are hypertension, diabetes, cardiac problems and, of course, accidents and criminal violence,” he said Monday on the Northern Grenadine island of Bequia, where a health centre was opened.
He said the number of Vincentians affected with diabetes and hypertension is “just too high.
“We are not eating properly and we are not exercising,” Gonsalves said, adding that he is “not a full and proper example to be talking about this subject.
“But in this dialogue, we have to be critical and self-critical,” he said, adding that he has a normal blood pressure.
“And then, of course, we can’t be smoking the way we’re smoking. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink alcohol … and my sugar level is good,” he said, adding that sugar is a cheap source of energy for children.
“It is a cheap source, but that doesn’t mean they have to drink every Busta in sight. … And [it] doesn’t mean they have to go and eat every fast food that exists. “Which means you have run on the beach, you have to swim …” he further said.
Gonsalves further encouraged citizens to participate in community groups for persons with hypertension and diabetes.
“Get involved with them, because, if you get involved with them and you work with them, they can save you from getting an amputation.
“There are so many people you go to the hospital to see, they’re getting amputations because of the diabetes. And the diabetes combined also with the hypertension creates real problems for them.
“So, I am pleading with you on those things. And the parents, try really to make sure the children stay off too many of the soft drinks and too many of the sweets.”
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said the issue of criminal violence “is a serious business”.
“And that’s why we have to take the strong position that we take on these matters, legislatively and also in terms of the police,” he said.
“There is a particular species of communicable disease — HIV and AIDS. No disease is too bad for anybody too good to get. Of course, all persons who have tested HIV positive, we give free anti-retroviral drugs to them and the treatment is improving, but this is an area where you have to be very careful because it is a potential death sentence.”
He said that while accidents and criminal violence are not normally put in the category of non-communicable disease, the number of vehicles in this country has increased four-fold over the last 12 years even as roads remain unchanged.
Gonsalves was sustained injuries to the mouth and other parts of his body in an accident involving his SUV and a truck in 2007.
“… after I was nearly killed in 2007 with a big truck on a public holiday, I try to stay off the road. I personally, I am not advising you to do that because people have to go to picnics and so on,” Gonsalves said.
“We have evolved a good public health system, a good primary health system, a sound secondary healthcare system,” he said, adding that the Government gets assistance with the secondary and tertiary healthcare system.
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"Powder Dry" in Camillo Incident

I missed this in April. Sorry.

Gov’t keeps ‘legal powder dry’ even after talks with Obama on envoy’s arrest
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The government is keeping its “legal powder dry” but says it is pleased with the progress so far in seeking redress, through diplomatic channels, for the arrest of one of its envoys in New York last month.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told a media briefing on Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have expressed regret at the arrest of Camillo Gonsalves, this country’s U.N. ambassador — Gonsalves’ oldest son — by a New York cop on March 28.
The U.S. officials spoke to the issue in a meeting with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Columbia last weekend.
Gonsalves said he had asked the CARICOM caucus not to raise the issue with the U.S. representatives because his administration was satisfied that the U.S. federal government “was keeping its word and responding, in our view, appropriately and satisfactorily”.
“And that was confirmed in my discussion with President Obama … and with Secretary of State Clinton on the issue. That is to say, they regret very much the incident and are both supportive of the efforts of [U.S ambassador to the United Nations] Susan Rice” – who also expressed regret at the incident.
According to Gonsalves, Clinton has been keeping up to date with Rice and said that Rice would deal with the matter fully to his satisfaction.
“President Obama expressed a similar view and said if there are any hiccups along the way, touch base with his office,” Gonsalves said.
He said he was “grateful” that the top levels U.S. Officials were “showing genuine concern … and expressing regret.
“Now, I don’t want to get onto the conversation about people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who injects partisan political issues into an issue which ought not to be,” he further said.
He added that other leaders at the Summit had expressed solidarity with him and Foreign Affairs Minister Sen. Douglas Slater.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly last Friday sent an investigator along with State Department officials to visit Ambassador Gonsalves, “as promised by Rice to speak to him as part of the investigation which is underway,” the Prime Minister said.
“Camillo has informed me that he went through all the issues with them. He said that he thought that the meeting was a good meeting.
“Of course, all over the world, we know what internal police inquiries sometimes do. But we wait and we wait and keep our legal power dry.
“Remember I said we are proceeding on the basis of diplomacy and law. And we have been very focused, and disciplined and professional on this,” adding that the country had “elicited support from all over the world”. He said “it is really disappointing to see persons suggesting here … that I engineered this whole thing to make it so that Camillo can return to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and be parachuted in at the top [of the political hierarchy].
“… It is just a lot of rubbish,” Gonsalves said.
Rice last week Tuesday visited Ambassador Gonsalves at in his office and expressed regret at the incident.
“That is not to be taken lightly. It is the first time, since Independence, that a cabinet member of the U.S. government, who is also the Permanent Representative of the United States, visited the mission of any of these countries in the Caribbean,” the Prime Minister said.
He noted that Rice visited Ambassador Gonsalves on a day when she was chairing a Security Council meeting.
“The report given to me was that she was very warm and sincere and from the comments which she made, convinced me that they take the matter seriously and they reiterate their commitment towards the Vienna Convention [on Diplomatic Relations] and also to the host agreements which they have between the United Nations and the United States of America.”
Rice on Thursday invited Ambassador Gonsalves to her home for dinner and to attend a basketball game in New York.
“She was again showing her concern and her empathy,” Gonsalves said, adding that the Vincentians envoy declined the invitation because he was travelling to Kuwait the following day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Buccament Bay

You can follow backwards a series of stories on the troubled financial history of the Buccamment Bay resort by going to: