Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has debunked claims that the private charges filed against Government Ministers, Dr George Norton and Volda Lawrence by two Opposition Members of Parliament is not a tit for tat, but rather is the first step in trying to end Government corruption at all levels.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo“We have been for ages trying to get redress on these matters,” Jagdeo said, explaining that the Government is engaged in talks about corruption but has not made any concerted effort to address it from its root.He made reference to Government officials talking about the issue at several major conferences, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. In other cases, experts were brought here to conduct sessions with law enforcement officers to address corruption.“But on these matters where they have real instances of corruption, they are unwilling to take any action in spite of the work done by the media on these matters to expose them and the calls by civil society and the Opposition for the Government to respond to them,” he observed.He said more actions would be filed in the coming weeks.
The National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant, Berbice, has the capacity to perform hundreds of cataract surgeries but currently because of poor budgeting, the Centre had not conducted any for the past three years.The $140 million facility at Port Mourant was commissioned in July 2009 and was the first specialised Ophthalmology centre in the Caribbean and Latin America.Head of the Regional Health Committee Zamal Husain admits that the institution is operating way below its capacity. In fact, there are no cataract surgeries done over the past three years.In May, Public Health Minister Volda Laurence announced that shortly the Centre will recommence cataract surgeries. Five months after, nothing has happened.Hussain, who was addressing the issue at the RDC said the institution has the capacity to carry out hundreds of cataract surgeries.Relating to figures, Hussain noted after its first 10 months of operation, there were 21,074 persons seen at the Centre.He noted that 8932 were seen for refractive errors of the eye. One thousand five hundred and thirty-six surgeries were done, of which 316 were cataract surgeries.“This hospital had the capacity to do about 10,000 surgeries and if we leave this very important Ophthalmology hospital nonfunctional, imagine what will happen to the people of Guyana.”The National Ophthalmology Centre has been out of kits to perform cataract surgeries for more than two years. Region Six Chairman David Armogan says that is so because of poor budgeting.However, Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn throws the blame on Central Government, saying it does not fall under the regional administration. He added that it is the Public Health Ministry that is tasked with providing drugs and medical supplies and also to ensure that the national ophthalmology hospital is up and running.The Cuban Government had funded the facility for nationals of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Armogan, who was at that time the head of the Regional Health Committee and also the President of the Rotary Club of New Amsterdam which was instrumental in arranging and facilitating some of the surgeries of the Centre, says the National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant should be up and running.He recalled that an Indian national was brought to the Ophthalmology hospital and was performing 40 surgeries per day.Armogan also noted that another surgeon, who is currently attached to the New Amsterdam Hospital, performs 10 cataract surgeries per day. (Andrew Carmichael)