Guy Joseph, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, has accused the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) of playing cheap politics with St Jude Hospital, (SJH).
Joseph spoke in the aftermath of the recent SLP-led demonstration in Vieux Fort, which organisers said was a protest against plans to demolish the hospital and the current government.
The minister asserted that he respects everyone’s right to protest and march.
But he explained that the Allen Chastanet-led administration has not ruled out any decision in terms of what is going to happen to SJH, except that there is no intention of demolishing the hospital.
Joseph said that was never the intention.
He recalled a statement made by Health Minister, Mary Isaac, on the matter, which he said did not indicate that the hospital would be torn down.
“She said that that was one of the suggestions – one of the possibilities. A number of things can be possibilities, it is what you choose to do in the process,” Joseph declared.
The reconstruction of the medical institution which was destroyed by fire in September 2009, has been mired in controversy.
Authorities say approximately $118 million has been spent on the project, but there is still no clear plan when it will be completed.
Guy Joseph told reporters Tuesday:
“We have said that we will do whatever we can to finish the hospital. If I wanted to play politics I would have finished St Jude just the way that it is and I would say :’That is what I inherited and that is what I am completing.’ But the labour party wanted to find a reason to march and they said it was a St Jude march.”
However the minister said it was evident that the activity was a political march, not one for the health and well-being of Saint Lucia.
He asserted that the SLP does not know what it is about.
“I would expect that the person who would have had the most comments to make about St Jude would be Doctor (Kenny) Anthony. He seems to be the most quiet person on this whole issue,” Joseph stated.
“You speak basic language for people to understand and then they twist it and they turn it ,” Joseph told reporters Tuesday.