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Former President David Granger says that the criticisms of the current government of his previous government’s management of the spread of COVID-19 are baseless and many of the initiatives condemned, such as the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, have now proven themselves useful.
Mr. Granger sat down recently on the programme, ‘The Public Interest’ where he conversed on the pandemic and what should be done to further mitigate the recent hike in its spread. Topical, however, were the remarks of Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony who only recently took over from the former Administration. At his swearing in ceremony on August 5, he painted the Center as “shell” which his Administration will have to conduct further works on to ensure its usefulness to coronavirus patients.
“What we have there, it’s a tragedy,” he told the media. “The former President launched this hospital (and) there is no staffing structure in place. The medical doctors that will be working there, none of them have been told, they don’t know where they will be coming from.”
Addressing the $1.6B Center, commissioned by himself on July 30, 2020, Mr. Granger said that, contrary to the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPPs) position, it was not established as ‘political gimmick’ but in the interest of ensuring that Guyanese had better access to health care during one of the world’s worst crises.
In setting up the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the former President said that his Government recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic would require a long-term strategy for elimination. He said that, at first, the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) was considering the use of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and other temporary facilities but it decided that the Center would be a better solution.
Now, patients are being moved from the Georgetown Public Hospital to the Center which he said has proven its usefulness even as it remains perhaps the only such dedicated Center in the English-speaking Caribbean. “I’m sure that (Dr. Frank Anthony) will eat his words. I’m sure that he will realize that what he said immediately on entering office is completely wrong, completely irrelevant and I look forward to the Center being fully equipped, fully staffed, so that it can provide the services (Guyanese need),” he said, adding:
“It’s not a matter of boasting about my Administration or about the coalition. Government is continuous. They don’t have to invent the wheel all over again and they don’t need to think that they should throw out the baby with the bathwater. It’s a good facility, we had good plans, we had good measures in place and they should adopt our plans.”
The former Head of State also chastised the current Administration for dismantling the NCTF Secretariat and for retracting on the preventative measure of encouraging persons to work from home.
He said that when his Administration demitted office on August 2, 2020 there were about 20 COVID-19 related deaths recorded in four months but, in just four weeks, there have been 23 deaths under the present Administration. “It is really a great tragedy for this country,” he said. “We had an integrated plan and if that plan had been adopted we would not have seen the surge infection rates that we are seeing now.” The former President said that nothing is to blame but the current Government’s abandonment of the previous plans in place, which were working, with the sole reason of disparaging the work of his Administration.