Jamaica’s Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has called for the resignation of Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton due to “his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a statement issued on September 2, the PNP is asserted that Jamaica has been without a proper COVID-19 management plan since the first case was recorded last year, which it says has led to the crisis being exacerbated.
It cited surges in deaths, infections, hospitalisation, and absent critical resources. It also raised concerns about the current third wave of the virus and the shortage of oxygen.
The party says the Government, specifically Dr. Tufton, must be held responsible for the shortcomings in Jamaica’s response to the pandemic.
The statement, in part, reads: “During our 3rd and most deadly wave of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Wellness failed to meet the needs of hospitals and clinics islandwide.
Though not the first case of poor planning, the most recent oxygen shortage demonstrated that the Minister of Health, and by extension the Government, is failing and has failed to exercise the duty of care owed to the people of Jamaica and our dedicated healthcare workers.
It has been reported that a number of patients died over the weekend due to the lack of oxygen available at health care facilities.
Nurses and doctors complained of having to “bag” patients as young as newborns to aid their survival.
This crisis was avoidable.
The inability of the MOHW and the GOJ to accurately forecast our oxygen needs, diversify supply if necessary and provide patients with the best possible chance of survival, is a gross dereliction of duty.
To make matters worse, the GOJ has since denied healthcare workers’ reports of what was witnessed in hospitals across the island.
In light of the discord in the public domain regarding the procurement of oxygen, the Ministry of Health is the office with responsibility for ensuring that sufficient supplies are available for our hospitals. Ultimately, the Minister of Health has failed. We cannot continue to accept failure after failure at the detriment of our citizens.
The Minister must resign. It is in the best interest of the country that Minister Tufton be removed from this portfolio for his repeated failures and inability to effectively perform the duties of his office. The people of Jamaica deserve better, they deserve a chance at life.”