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McKenzie warns of shake-up in infirmaries - Minister provides goodies to councillors, poor relief officers in St James

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie is taking aim at unqualified persons working in infirmaries across the island who were employed because of political connections.

McKenzie made the announcement during a visit to the St James Municipal Corporation last week, where he announced that $38 million would be added to the previously allocated $40 million to fund the construction of a new ward at the St James Infirmary.




While we will be changing the name (of the St James Infirmary) and providing resources to improve service, some of the persons who are working in the system can't be part of the system any longer because they have brought disgrace and shame upon the system," said McKenzie.

"Mayor, I am telling you this, that many of those who work in our infirmaries will tell you that they were employed because they were a feeding captain or somebody who was aligned to some mayor or elected representative," continued McKenzie. "Well, I am putting out a warning today that no politics, no mayor can protect you in your job if you are not performing."

According to McKenzie, many of those who are working in the country's infirmaries are unable to read or write but are administering medication to residents at the facilities.




"We are not only going to change the name and put in infrastructure, but it can't be the same facility with a different name. It is a commitment of this administration to improve the services that we provide to the less fortunate," stated McKenzie.

The money allocated to the St James Infirmary is part of a $200 million national investment to improve infirmaries across the island. The initiative is a joint venture between the Ministry of Local Government and the National Housing Trust, which will provide the funding.

In the meantime, McKenzie has donated 22 tablets to councillors and poor relief officers in St James to assist them in carrying out their functions. A computer and printer were donated to the Poor Relief Department while a new truck was given to the Road and Works Department.

"I made a commitment to the poor relief officers and the 239 councillors across the country to provide the requisite tools to make their jobs more effective," said McKenzie, in explaining his generosity.

"We just don't talk about improving lives. This is going to be my 41st year in Local Government and I know what the sector was then and when I look at what it is today, I can tell you that we have made the difference in this country," noted McKenzie, a former mayor of Kingston.