Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Why chicken out, Dr Dunn?

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM


A hallmark of a mature democracy is the engagement of politicians in debate on how they propose to address the many challenges faced by the citizens they seek to represent.

I am therefore highly suspicious of the refusal by Dr Norman Dunn to engage Dr Shane Alexis in a debate as requested by the RJRGLEANER Communications Group ahead of the by-election in South East St Mary.

A debate provides an opportunity for the citizens to make up their minds as to which candidate has the ideas and competence to best represent them. It is a patriotic duty to share such ideas and a mark of respect for voters. Ideas, as they say, must contend. Without such exchange, we, as citizens, are left in the dark. I for one think it is a disservice and I wonder if Dr Dunn has something to hide.

In the absence of such information, one can only rely on what exists in the public domain on the candidates. We know that Dr Alexis has been a very distinguished president of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) and has given excellent professional service as a doctor in the public service for many years, on the frontline, at the Kingston Public Hospital, the Annotto Bay Hospital and the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

As president of the MAJ, Dr Alexis stood up for the interests of the public and patients with clear ideas on how to improve the service through advocacy for more money for the sector, more equipment, reducing the waiting time for surgeries and general care, taking a proactive approach to disease avoidance, calling for more details from the audit of hospitals and health centres to better determine how to improve the service, the user-fee policy, and reducing the cost of critical drugs by delinking them from the US dollar.

In the case of Dr Dunn, we only know that he is a businessman who owns a number of pharmacies and that he "comes from St Mary". I think the citizens of South East St Mary and, indeed, all Jamaicans deserve to know more at this stage in our development.

Those who seek to represent us must know what they are doing. We cannot afford the high cost of inept and disinterested leadership. We know what Shane Alexis is capable of and he is willing to share his ideas with us and put his talent to the benefit of improving the lives of the people of South East St Mary, not just for an election campaign, but for the immediate and long-term future. Initially, Dunn said he wanted to debate, so why does he not want to now? This is strange behaviour.

Christene Black

Red Hills