The Irony of Minister Cuffie’s Plight

The Irony of Minister Cuffie’s Plight

We were very pleased to see photos late last week of Communications Minister, Maxie Cuffie actually on his feet and moving about after suffering a debilitating stroke last September. Since his hospitalisation in the United States, we were dependent solely on Cabinet News briefings as our source of information on Minister Cuffie’s progress. And we extend to him our wishes for a speedy recovery as his treatment continues. Whether he would be returning to his position in the government and to serving his constituents in La Horquetta/Talparo is another matter.

Minister Cuffie is indeed fortunate that medical attention was afforded to him through his position in government, as his predicament could have been significantly worse, had he been saddled with a bill of millions for treatment. Unfortunate though is the plight of the man on the street when he suffers a similar fate. He has to face our local healthcare system, which on a good day could only be described as daunting. Could you imagine if the goodly Minister had to wait for hours on a bench at the Port of Spain General Hospital for treatment? Or if he had to lie on a cot on a hospital corridor for days because a bed was not available? Or what would have been his position if he had to wait for drugs to be purchased to treat his aliment at one of our local hospitals? The outcome could have been extreme, like our citizens face every single day. Thank goodness Minister Cuffie was flown out to Washington DC with dispatch.

Meanwhile, we join with Minister in the Office of the Attorney General, Stewart Young in condemning disparaging comments being made about Minister Cuffie during this trying period. At a news conference last Thursday he urged citizens to exercise restraint in their comments and be mindful of the fact that the ailing minister is human and his family is also affected by unbecoming commentary. He asked citizens to put themselves in Cuffie’s shoes which we are sure many individuals suffering strokes wish they were in to receive first class medical attention at no expense.

It is truly unfortunate that the same taxpayers footing the bill for Minister Cuffie’s medical bills are not able to access the similar services. Realistically, we are not advocating for free world class treatment for everyone. That would be only farfetched and imaginative utopia. What we are hurt by is this situation, steeped in irony. We wish for the day when our citizens can access even basic medical services without the aforementioned stresses that compound already trying scenarios. While we do not support the vile and inconsiderate comments being directed at the Minister, we know this behaviour is partly because of the frustration of having an unreliable healthcare system manifesting itself. In a nation that saw billions of dollars pass through via foregone oil wealth, our perennial predicament is downright unacceptable. This scenario is just one case of the King feasting while the peasants toil for little or no reward.


May 7th, 2018

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