Tue | Sep 19, 2017

'I'm not playing politics, I want action!' Dalley maintains Tufton, health ministry negligent

Published:Saturday | February 25, 2017 | 2:00 AMRomario Scott
Horace Dalley

Opposition spokesman on health Horace Dalley has charged that he is not using the issue of the noxious fumes affecting the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James as a platform to score political points.

His response comes in the wake of a Gleaner report detailing how Dr Ruth Potopsingh, then group managing director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), wrote to the health ministry seeking additional funds to overhaul and replace the central air-conditioning unit during Dalley's stint as health minister back in 2007.

Last week, Dalley placed Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton in the firing line, accusing him of being negligent for failing to act with alacrity to resolve the problem which is causing displacement and chaos at the St James-based facility.

But, despite the revelation, Dalley is maintaining his posture, charging that, "I am not the health minister. Christopher Tufton is the health minister, and he should do his job. I am not trying to score political points. There is no election on the horizon and there is no campaign on the horizon."

 

CANNOT RECALL

 

Dalley continued, "The minister of health has approached this crisis in a very shoddy way, which boils down to a dereliction of duty."

The health spokesman told The Gleaner yesterday that as the opposition, he has a duty to hold the Government accountable, as the response to the crisis at the type-A hospital has been less than acceptable.

When pressed about his response to the plea from the PCJ for additional funds to overhaul the central air-conditioning unit at the hospital while he was the minister of health, Dalley responded: "I am not sure what happened 10 years ago. I cannot recall what happened ... . I would have to go back into my files ... and contact people to find out ..."

He, however, argued that the fact that the fumes-spouting air-conditioning unit was a legacy issue spanning administration is not significant, especially at this point in time when crisis is gripping the hospital because of "Dr Tufton's failure to act six months ago".

Dalley said, "The minister is trying to deflect and say 'because it's a long time it's happening, [he should not be called upon to act speedily]'. No! It has become a crisis under his watch. He was tardy, he was late, and, as I said, it is negligence."

An unrelenting Dalley stated that it was a disgrace that the management of the Cornwall Regional Hospital allowed the situation to deteriorate to crisis levels.

He also knocked the management for initially shrugging off complaints from hospital staff.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com