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Ferguson: I've done nothing wrong

Published:Friday | October 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Badly bruised over his performance and particularly his handling of the chikungunya (chik-V) crisis, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson has said he and his Government have done nothing wrong.

Despite mounting criticisms, Ferguson is not about to roll over. In fact, he is defending his stewardship of the ministry.

"My record for the past two and a half years cannot be challenged, whether for incompetence or what we have set out to do," Ferguson said.

The Opposition has repeatedly called for the prime minister to remove Ferguson from the health portfolio, especially since the chik-V outbreak. Schools and businesses have reported widescale absenteeism due to chikungunya-like symptoms, and the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) has reported that 90 per cent of employers who responded to a JEF survey have seen an increase in workers falling ill to flu-like symptoms.

Maintaining that the Government has done nothing wrong, Ferguson said the ministry has done what was required by the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

The health minister also acknowledged that the country's tourism sector played a part in how he handled the chik-V outbreak.

"While we are fighting and we need to protect our people, we also have an industry that is external - the tourism sector - that every pronouncement is also picked up, [and] you're getting several cancellations," he argued.

Ferguson, who was speaking on Power 106 FM's 'Independent Talk' yesterday morning, also said that few ministers could promise and deliver four centres of excellence within a year of office.

"We have seen the renewal of primary health care … . We have built or repaired over 110 health centres … [which were] started in the last administration [and] continued by me," he said.