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Fenton Ferguson not worthy of NAJASO award

Published:Saturday | August 15, 2015 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisation (NAJASO), ever since its start in 1977, has long established itself as a strong pro-People's National Party (PNP) diaspora group based in the United States.

Despite this, many of its members and non-members were shocked that the organisation saw it fit to award Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson with the Lignum Vitae Award during the 38th Annual Convention Banquet and Awards Presentation recently.

Its leaders must now realise that its collapsing support may be linked to ridiculous and reckless actions like this, which deeply undermine the little credibility it has.

The award is based on extraordinary effort, leadership, professional skills, support, contributions, patriotism and contributions to the economic development of Jamaica.

NAJASO knows that the minister's handling of the chikungunya epidemic and the public health system has ranked him regularly among the worst ministers in Jamaica.

In the case of chik-V, despite warnings from the Pan American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a major workshop coordinated by both entities in Jamaica in May 2012, the Ferguson-led Ministry of Health failed to prepare the nation for the coming virus.

Upon arriving in Jamaica, the minister slipped into denial mode and arrogantly ignored public pleas by Jamaicans for help. During that period of denial, the virus quickly spread across the island, leading to multiple deaths, including those of children. To this day, thousands of Jamaica have suffered from debilitating joint pain and a broad range of serious medical complications.

On top of the toll of human life, chikungunya cost Jamaica millions of dollars in losses and our public health system, a separate issue, is in a state of crisis.

NAJASO really made a fool of itself. Its time it stops propping up failure and instead focus its energy on helping Jamaica.

Patrick L. Callum

Spokesman

Concerned Jamaicans in

New York