The site for the specialty hospital at
Liliendaal being cleared
Vishnu Bisram: I refer to Mr Chris Ram’s epistle, ‘Ramkarran has disregarded essential facts in his comments on the 1961 and 2003 finance Acts‘ (SN, Feb 29). Admittedly, I am not familiar with either Act and I have not read Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran’s column which was critiqued by Mr Ram. Mr Ramkarran is an expert on constitutional law and so I defer to him on that matter. It is well established that he is known to be a careful writer whose legal skills and choice of words few, certainly not Mr Ram, can match. What interests me and colleagues in New York is Mr Ram’s failure to critique the APNU and AFC opposition for their unwillingness to approve funds for the infrastructure of the specialty hospital which India has consented to build and their silence in Hamilton Green’s characterization of the plan to build the hospital with India’s funding. Is it that they and Mr Ram agree with Mr Green that they vote down or oppose funds for the hospital?
Mr Ram found a “taint of racially inspired motives” in Mr Ramkarran’s column (though Mr Ram did not implicitly or explicitly point to any). But Mr Ram found nothing wrong in the statements from Mr Green who opposes the specialty hospital.
Mr Green implied that India is attempting to colonize Guyana by building the hospital – a modern hospital that will perform surgeries that Guyanese normally go abroad to have done and that will cost less than a quarter in Guyana than they do abroad. And incidentally eight Guyanese of varied racial and religious backgrounds received surgeries successfully in India over the last two weeks. With the specialty hospital in Guyana, ailing Guyanese won’t need to travel overseas for corrective operations. The specialty hospital will benefit Guyanese not Indian nationals or India, and it will be a financial burden to India not Guyana. But Mr Green, a member of the PNC and now APNU, sees it in racial terms. Yet Mr Ram has no problem with such a narrow view. Does the AFC share Mr Ram’s position? And does it agree with Mr Green?
I am all in favour of proper accountability in the use of taxpayers’ money and I think Mr Ram should use his accounting skills to question government’s expenditures. It is well known that Mr Ram is with the opposition. That does not mean that he has to agree with every act of the opposition. I think the groundwork for the specialty hospital should be funded, and yes, there should be proper accountability for it.
Since the opposition controls the majority, accountability is not the issue. So why oppose the funding of the hospital? It will benefit all Guyanese regardless of race even though the bulk of the skills and funding will come from India.