McAlpine to PM: Not the time to appoint engineer to min. of health – EyeWitness News

Posted: August 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine suggested today the appointment of Renward Wells as minister of health was ill-timed and the prime minister should have either retained the role as acting minister or appointed a healthcare professional amid a health crisis.

There is a time and place for everything, McAlpine said.

This is not the time or place for that, and I ga leave that right there, that ministry appointment.

You need a doctor or health professional at the helm when you have a national pandemic, period, full stop. So, the prime minister as far as I am concerned should have still been acting because he is the only doctor left in the room.

And if you couldnt give me a doctor, you should have got me a healthcare professional.

This is not a time to place an engineer in the health department when he should be in the Ministry of Works, in the engineering department.

In May, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced he will temporarily assume the position of health minister following the resignation of Dr Duane Sands, which the prime minister accepted.

Sands resigned amid revelations that he allowed a group bringing in a donation of test swabs to disembark a plane, despite the countrys border closure.

While the prime minister provided weekly updates via televised live national address, it was not until early June that he took questions as the acting minister of health, for which he was roundly criticized.

Wells was sworn in as minister of health in July.

At his swearing-in at Government House, he defended the appointment and pointed to numerous jurisdictions such as Singapore where non-medical professionals served as ministers of health.

Non-doctors have served as previous ministers of health in The Bahamas, including former PLP Cabinet minister Loftus Roker, an educator and attorney, who served as minister of health in 1971.

When he was asked about public communications, Wells said he did not foresee any changes and the technical professional will continue to update the nation.

He was not a part of the joint press conference on Monday.

Today, McAlpine, who was a guest on Guardian Radios The Hit Back with Nahaja Black,said when the prime minister took on the role of acting minister of health people expected more from the former minister of health, but did not get it.

We felt like the person who was almost like the mother in the room, that nurtured us during this time Dr Dahl-Regis when we heard she was gone, it just hasnt been the same, he said.

During a press conference on Monday, Dahl-Regis advised a reporter who welcomed her back that she had never left.

The health consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister, who was appointed in March, was expected to step down from her day-to-day role as the governments lead COVID-19 response coordinator by July 24, according to the Office of the Prime Minister.

The OPM said Dahl-Regis will continue to offer strategic advice to the government and prime minister, but will be stepping aside from day-to-day operations.

Yesterday, Dahl-Regis led the press conference.

The prime minister referred to her as the head up the Surveillance Unit.


McAlpine, who addressed the ongoing pandemic, also said the prime minister must focus on the economic crisis at this time.

COVID is done and over with, weve got to live with it, the MP said.

His priority right now should be getting this economy up and running.

As it relates to the future, I am saying to you, people have not seen a vision and this country is looking for vision.

They are looking for leadership. And if you deny that or anybody listening to me or watching me denies that they would be telling themselves a lie.

People are not satisfied with what they have seen thus far.

I am going to go a little further and say, I am not sure thats just inclusive to this last government.

It just may be more amplified with this government. But people have been looking for leadership for a while.

McAlpine expressed concern about the high numbers of infections compared to the population and pointed out The Bahamas with over 1,700 cases has one of the highest infection rates in the region.

However, McAlpine said he does not blame the government for the resurgence.

He said: Its a virus and anybody can have it.

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McAlpine to PM: Not the time to appoint engineer to min. of health - EyeWitness News

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