Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Tuesday talked up the government’s projects and plans to improve healthcare in Guyana and in doing so, he flagged many of the “broken promises” and shortcomings in the sector from his predecessors.
Dr. Anthony, the second government speaker on the second day of the 2023 Budget Debate, reminded the lawmakers that Guyanese were promised much-needed projects.
He, however, contended that many of those projects did not come to fruition.
“…there were a number of budgets presented (from 2015 to 2020) and in each of those budgets the (former) Minister of Finance made statements about what would be done in the health sector
“I want to ask the Honourable Members over there, where are these programmes?” Dr. Anthony asked during his presentation.
He did not stop there.
Dr. Anthony provided a laundry list of health projects promised by the former APNU+AFC government but did not materialise.
“In 2015, they promised to set up a paediatric cardiac programme at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
“… Where is that programme? Up to now, nothing could be produced by the APNU+AFC.
“In 2016, they promised us that they would bring a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to study suicide prevention. 2016 came and went and nothing was delivered. Another broken promise,” he said.
Other publicly announced projects, according to the Health Minister, included a speciality hospital at Liliendaal, a ten-bed cardiac theatre, a new mental health institute and a new Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Because these projects did not materialise, Dr. Anthony’s mantra became: “Another broken promise, nothing was delivered.”
The Health Minister went on to defend the government’s spending since 2020 and the 2023 National Budget. This year, some $84.9 billion was allocated to the sector.
He highlighted that more than 250 health centres and health posts received upgrades across the country, while hundreds of health workers received much-needed training. Dr. Anthony also noted that the government has been investing in infrastructure upgrades.
And in the coming years, he said much more will be done.
The Health Minister reminded the gathering that six new regional hospitals are being developed, with a seventh at Bartica, Region Seven, in the planning stages. A new maternal and paediatric hospital is also being established.
And he said that the government is investing in providing modern services through those hospitals so that people will benefit.
“Our task is not only to fix what they left- this broken system- but we are going to fix it and transform it into a world class system,” Minister Anthony contended.