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Report Card #6. Dr. Duane Ernie Sands, Minister of Health. Behaviour “beneath” his Dignity. If we were to judge the Minister of Health by regional standards as a surgeon, and from an educational point of view, his skills and competencies as a heart specialist, Dr. Sands has no equal. In the Caribbean region, he has done our country proud. As a Minister of Health, and politician on paper, his credentials say he could have been Prime Minister. As the Minister of Health for The Bahamas, in reality he is cold and indifferent to the plight of the poor, and sees his ministry’s portfolio as a profit and loss business. Woe be unto you, if you are poor and have no medical insurance. Pray that your illness will be brief, not life threatening, pray also that you know the Lord as Saviour, then call your family and bless them, and die; Otherwise, you will suffer a slow and agonizing death under this FNM administration. This, in a small and prosperous country like the Bahamas. On the political front, Dr. Sands has transformed himself into a midget, far from the towering figure he should be. He openly boast of seeing politics as being a blood sport, how unfortunate, his view. The example of the Frank Smith case shows us that Doctor Sands has yoked himself with the Minister of National Security, a striker who himself has anger management challenges and engages in behaviour that is unbecoming beneath his dignity, and dignity of the high office. This goes against Dr. Sands’ core values that were instilled in him, as a child. Today’s reality shows us that after two years in office; stop, review, and cancel has become the order of the day. Dr. Sands has not brought his skill, intellectual prowess, and can-do spirit to the Ministry of Health for the upliftment of the citizens. National Health Insurance is dead in the water; and, will not happen under this mean-spirited administration. The problem of bed space at the Rand Memorial Hospital lingers on at a snail’s pace with no end in sight. Dialysis patients suffer, family Island clinics remain unopened and neglected, and Junior doctors have to fight for a living wage. The cancellation of the mini Hospital off Sunrise Highway in Grand Bahama, the stronghold of the FNM, demonstrates the coldness of leadership. Finally, on a personal note to my schoolmate whom I knew as Ernie, I commend Psalms 51 to him. For I have found great comfort and in my times of moral failings. Change: your upbringing demands you do better. For the first time in your life, you receive a failing grade, D.

Brian Seymour