Some residents to pay more at QEH
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has put the country on notice of a change in the policy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to ensure that people who can afford to pay, do so.
In making the announcement this morning during his delivery of the main address at the Democratic Labour Party’s 59th Annual Conference, the party leader noted that financing the QEH had always been a challenge for successive governments.
While stating that the facility “must not ever lose its human face”, the DLP President said, “a mechanism must be put in pace to ensure that those who can afford to pay for the services the QEH provides are made to do so.”
He gave no date for implementation of this new policy.
During his 54-minute address, delivered in the DLP auditorium, Stuart also spoke about education, the recently introduced Municipal Solid Waste Tax and the economy.
The Prime Minister, who met last week Monday with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler , said the country was showing signs of economic improvement, though he did not say an upturn was around the corner.
“I was pleased to learn that our foreign reserves situation had substantially stabilised, that our financial deficit was trending downwards, and that it should be at such a level by the end of the financial year as would be a clear signal of Government’s seriousness in confronting this problem,” he said.
He noted, however, “the fiscal deficit and the debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio and the shortage of opportunities for gainful employment are the main challenges that confront my administration”.
Noting the strides made by Barbados in the areas of education and other social and economic improvements, he asked, “Does the state . . . owe the same duty to the graduates of secondary and tertiary institutions, living in modern housing with water-borne facilities, driving one of the 113,000 motor cars on our roads, and in generally steady white collar or blue collar employment as it owed to the man or woman [of 1938] wending his or her way to the cane fields or to the farm with broad-rimmed hat, crocus bag tied around the waist and a hoe or fork across the shoulder, having just left a modest chattel house without running water and often on rented land?”
On the matter of the controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax, he acknowledged that it had given rise to “some stridency in recent weeks”.
At the same time, the country’s leader noted that the revenue-generating measure formed part of Government’s 19-month economic adjustment programme.
“Not only is the waste problem serious, but its management has become more costly.
“Cheap political posturing and jejune political chit chat cannot wish this problem away,” he stated further.