SCANDAL! – Barbados “War On AIDS” – How Owen Arthur And His Government Refused The Donation Of A Free AIDS & Cancer Hospice

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Why Did Prime Minister Arthur Turn Down A Free State Of The Art AIDS & Cancer Hospice For The Terminally Ill?

According to the local media, the Evangelical Churches of Barbados have declared a War On AIDS. Over at the Barbados blog Notes From The Margin they are already celebrating victory in a manner worthy of a government news release…

“Today some good news arrived on Radio about the continuing fight against HIV/AIDS. In case you didn’t know Barbados has been hailed as a success in it’s response to HIV/AIDS. In fact we have been hailed as a model case.”

Barbados Minister of Health, Dr. Jerome Walcott is constantly talking about AIDS – as well he should. When he attended the first Caribbean Summit on HIV/AIDS in January of 2007, he announced that Barbados was making “some progress” thanks to a “loan” (read “never to be repaid gift”) from the World Bank.

Dr. Walcott also continually addresses the increasing costs to the health care system of which the HIV/AIDS crisis is no small part.

What do you think all of these folks would say if they knew that in 1995, the Owen Arthur government turned down the free donation of what would have been a multi-million dollar state of the art AIDS & Cancer hospice and clinic in Barbados?

Another Opportunity Lost

Frankly, we were stunned when we received information from two independent sources about the 1995 actions of Prime Minister Owen Arthur and then Minister of Health, Elizabeth Thompson in turning down the free donation of an AIDS and Cancer Hospice for Barbados.

We have seen incontrovertible proof that this happened. We know who, when, what and how… but we just don’t want to believe the why.

Owen Arthur and Liz Thompson effectively told the millionaire donor: “Barbados doesn’t need your free AIDS & Cancer Hospice. Go Away.”

The HIV/AIDS & Cancer Hospice That Owen Arthur Refused

In 1995, Canadian millionaire philanthropist Peter Allard spoke with community health leaders in Barbados and realised that our country lacked the facilities and the knowledge to effectively treat patients who were in the terminal stages of AIDS. In his typical unselfish fashion, Allard set about bringing together the community leaders and specialists who could best determine how he could help Bajans who were dying of the disease – and help their families too.

Bajans and professionals would provide the plan – Peter Allard would provide the monies necessary to fund the project much as he had done with the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

What started off as a plan for an AIDS Hospice soon turned into a Cancer Hospice as well – as it was realized that Barbados also had no facility to look after folks who were in the end stages of cancer.

Various church leaders came on board and the Catholic Church offered to donate the land where the hospice would be built and to staff the facility with nuns. In the initial stage, the Barbados Hospice would have had 12 beds for terminal AIDS patients and 12 beds for terminal cancer patients.

Peter Allard spent tens of thousands of dollars – funding the hiring of an architect, medical and social specialists and other professionals necessary to put together the building plan, and the proposal to be put before the Health Ministry for approval.

People in the community and the health system were excited. Barbados would finally have the money to provide a hospice – a home to properly care for our friends and relatives who were dying of AIDS or cancer.

And this was to be only the first stage. After the facility was established and running smoothly, additional personnel were to be trained in preparation for increased patient capacity. Peter Allard had the money, the will and the good heart to really make a difference for terminally-ill Bajans.

(Dear God, if this cancer hospice had of been built, what a difference it would have made to Shona’s uncle and the family during his last few months.)

As the project progressed, an appointment was made weeks in advance and confirmed with then Minister of Health Elizabeth Thompson. On the appointed day and the appointed hour Mr. Allard and the various community leaders arrived at the Ministry of Health to present the proposal for the Barbados AIDS and Cancer Hospice.

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Liz Thompson deliberately stood them up. She never showed.

They waited hours. Calls were made. No Minister of Health. Embarrassed officials made excuses and Mr. Allard and the community leaders left without seeing the Minister of Health or formally presenting the hospice proposal.

When no call came from the Ministry of Health to reschedule the meeting, Prime Minister Owen Arthur was contacted. “There must be some mistake” said Owen. “I’ll get back to you”.

But no calls came, and soon Peter Allard and the community leaders came to realize that there would be no Barbados AIDS and Cancer Hospice.

Why not? Why did the Owen Arthur government refuse the free donation of an AIDS and Cancer Hospice for Barbados?

My friends, the “why” that we have heard is almost unbelievable – except that this is Barbados and we believe it.

Let’s see if any of our readers can fill in a few more details of this story. Perhaps Prime Minister Owen Arthur or Minister Liz Thompson can tell their fellow citizens why this offer of a free hospice was refused?

Perhaps Prime Minister Owen Arthur or Minister Liz Thompson can inform us of what hospice facilities Barbados currently maintains for our friends and relatives who are in their last days?

Canadian Philanthropist Peter Allard

For some unexplainable reason, Canadian Peter Allard loves Barbados and Bajans.

Of that fact, there can be no dispute. Allard singlehandedly rescued the Graeme Hall mangrove forest from being turned into a wasteland, spent over US$20 million dollars to create the world class Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and then offered to GIVE the majority of the sanctuary lands to the people of Barbados for a national park.

Allard’s generosity to Barbados did not stop with the Nature Sanctuary. He donated to the reef recovery project and the drug rehabilitation centre. There are also many individual Bajans who have received quiet help from him with medical and education costs.

The only “return” received by Peter Allard for his generosity to Barbados is his feeling that he has done some good. No plaques, awards or state dinners honour his work. Mr. Allard apparently does not seek to be honoured on this earth for the good that he does in Barbados, Guatemala, Canada and Africa.

Mr. Allard may be rich, but the treasures that he has his heart set on are obviously not of this earth. (See Matthew 6:19-21)

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43 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Health, Politics & Corruption

43 responses to “SCANDAL! – Barbados “War On AIDS” – How Owen Arthur And His Government Refused The Donation Of A Free AIDS & Cancer Hospice

  1. Paradox

    What a pitty!
    The Prime Minister and Minister Liz Thompsom should give the people of Barbados some answers now it is known. We all need to know the real reason why you took that decission; or is it top secret?
    Do you care? Does the Government cares?
    Prime Minister, the time is short. If you care, please show all of Barbados.
    There is still time.

  2. Wishing in Vain

    They maybe a few issues at work here the first one being he is white and from overseas and there is nothing Liz Thompson hates more than having a white person tell her anything, ask COW.
    Secondly he offered to donate this centre, here in lies the problem had he told the gov’t that it would cost them $ 10 million Nicholls and Bannister would have been activated by Owing and he would have had to set aside 10 % commission to be donated to the Owing Arthur et al retirement fund, but these donations as he wanted to provide does not allow Owing and company any latitude for stealing hence they go no where with the project.
    Trust you all now have a clearer picture of how things really work in our island Barbados it has to have a corrupt component to it otherwise nothing happens !!!!

  3. samizdat

    So Elizabeth Thompson has a problem with white folks for true? Interesting to me, because it’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Some years ago a (white) friend of mine visiting from the UK was seated next to her at some official function. He told me afterwards that during the course of the dinner, while she was polite enough and not in anyway overtly rude, he still got a very clear vibe from her (just as we can sense it with racist whites I guess) that she profoundly disliked white people.

    At the time I told my buddy she probably just didn’t like him! But now after reading WIV’s comment I’m wondering if maybe he was right…

  4. Wishing in Vain

    She has been know to state that she is changing how things are done in this country and you the white people have to understand that and the work will be given to others.
    If these are not racist comments I am not sure what are.
    She has a chip on her shoulder that is for sure not sure if it can be described as a chip maybe more a block on her shoulder.

  5. Wishing in Vain

    I would consider her one pompus, arrogant filled with an air of her own self importance. clown but then again knowing her the way I do I maybe overly harsh on her for reasons known to both of us.

  6. Rumplestilskin

    I am not surprised. Thompson also was also the Minister who refused to back down on Greenland no?

    And where is Greenland today? A complete and total mess!

    Where is the QEH today? A mess.

    Yet Arthur found an alternate Ministery for her after the initiation of the Greenland fiasco. Why? I guess he did not want to ‘dilute’ his Government by acknowledging that one of his Ministers is completely incompetent i.e. it would appear that in his view a Minister who can get themselves elected, even if downright incompetent, is better than none at all.

    Let us hope that bajans come to the realisation that incompetentce is what has things the way they are today and deal with it accordingly.

  7. more

    How absolutely sickening. What the He11 is wrong with Owen Arthur? I place the blame for this disgusting shunning of a genuine offer of help for Barbadians squarely on his shoulders.
    He should be made to explain to the people of Barbados his motives for this selfish stupidity.
    He is known to be vindictive and ill-mannered but this is just too much.

  8. Missing Home

    Was it racism or the lack of suitable bribes that killed the clinic? Or both?

    This would make a good “60 minutes” TV Special for broadcast around the globe on CNN.

    Really!

  9. akabozik

    Missing Home is right. This would be a good news story in the international media. BFP you MUST forward this to somebody who writes about stories like this. 60 Minutes has done some “banana republic” stories and they would LOVE this one.

  10. Aqua

    Don’t they have a conscience? Unless they start being good upstanding citizens (or rulers?) displaying and using good morals for the benefit of others, universal forces have a funny way of taking over.

    We have been given positions of power for a reason. Owen and Liz you can change things for the better in this country. You have the power. Use it wisely. Again – use it wisely. Follow your conscience. Use good morals. Act before it is too late. Get good karma.

  11. Anonymous

    I agree with the person above.

  12. John

    Did this happen at the same time that Barbados was expecting to get, or got some money to spend on AIDS?

    I remember one day hearing Owen waxing lyrical at a conference at Sherbourne about the damage to the economy HIV/AIDS would cause and how he would be personally championing the fight against this scourge.

    Till then I hadn’t heard a squeak out of him about HIV/AIDS and was surprised to see him getting involved given his reputation with the ladies.

    Next day the newspaper revealed all. A set of money was given to Barbados by WHO or PAHO I believe and he would be looking after its spending.

    I seem to remember David Shorey was involved with the money thing too!!

    Guess if Peter Allard had just given him money to spend and then looked away, ….. well maybe it would have been another story.

    Maybe if someone looked at how these free funds were utilised back then it might reveal alot.

  13. question

    I would like to know what this man did to get in Owing’s craw? I am sure it must have something to do with the O$A retirement fund.
    When you get on Owing’s wrong side you always feel his wrath. This time the whole country feeling it just because of one man.

  14. Wishing in Vain

    As time goes by the more we are learning about these so called caring people the blp, they do not care the slightest about the masses but rather their own betterment and their own bank accounts.
    What a shame we are forced to live under their corrupt rules.

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘Left unchecked, it (HIV/Aids) can make a nonsense of our very development strategy’.

    ‘Not only must the fight against HIV/Aids be itensified, but it needs sustained engagement’

    These comments were made by Prime Minister Owen Arthur and carried in an article entitled ‘HIV/Aids Pledge’ by Karin Dear in the 31st March 2007 edition of the Nation.

    Were the AIDS Foundation Inc., involved in the offer to Goverment?

  16. Anonym

    Regarding Mr. Allard – If any of you really beleive that he is giving / offering without wanting something in return or making a point.

    You need help.

    ***************************

    BFP Comments

    For years Peter Allard has given to Barbados and asked for nothing. If you are aware of something that he was asking for in return, please say so. We have seen everything we need to know that this was a gift – like Allard’s gift on a National Park in another country. Like his gift of medical help in Africa. Just a gift.

    Please… say the details of what he wanted right now.

    Or take your B.S. to the BLP Blog where it will be happily received.

  17. Straight talk

    We do understand the point he is making, and our AIDS/cancer sufferers do need help.
    From any source, as public funds seem unavailable.

  18. more

    Anonym, So you mean they just stood the man up because he wanted something in return?
    What was it he wanted?

  19. Straight talk

    Barbados
    STATEMENT BY THE RT. HON. OWEN ARTHUR, MP
    PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS
    TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE
    GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS
    JUNE 25, 2001
    United Nations Headquarters New York
    (Snip)
    At the national level, Barbados has designed its own comprehensive programme for the management, treatment and care of people infected by HIV/AIDS. My Government has
    pledged just under US 100 million over the next five years, and is currently negotiating a US$15 million loan from the World Bank to held fund the national programme.

    We regard this matter as being sufficiently important to warrant the extraordinary step of a petition to the World Bank, from whose loan programme we graduated in 1999, to readmit us to borrowing to support the initiative.

    In addition in order to signal both the gravity and priority of the national fight againstHIV/AIDS, in September last year I assumed responsibility, as Prime Minister, for the co-ordination of the national HIV/AIDS programme.

    Subsequently, the Government has this month established a broad-based National HIV/AIDS Commission, chaired by the Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, to advise on policy and to co-ordinate the implementation of the national programme.
    (End Snip)

    Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commissions home page graphic :
    We Care … Do You?.

    Who are they addressing?

    Guess that’s OK now the PM has personally taken over responsibility for our fight against AIDS…. and also World Bank loans, the oversight of our $100 million budget and which foreign entities to accept( or reject ) help from.

  20. Straighter talk

    Barbados
    STATEMENT BY THE RT. HON. OWEN ARTHUR, MP
    PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS
    TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE
    GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS
    JUNE 25, 2001
    United Nations Headquarters New York
    (Snip)
    At the national level, Barbados has designed its own comprehensive programme for the management, treatment and care of people infected by HIV/AIDS. My Government has
    pledged just under US 100 million over the next five years, and is currently negotiating a US$15 million loan from the World Bank to held fund the national programme.

    We regard this matter as being sufficiently important to warrant the extraordinary step of a petition to the World Bank, from whose loan programme we graduated in 1999, to readmit us to borrowing to support the initiative.

    In addition in order to signal both the gravity and priority of the national fight againstHIV/AIDS, in September last year I assumed responsibility, as Prime Minister, for the co-ordination of the national HIV/AIDS programme.

    Subsequently, the Government has this month established a broad-based National HIV/AIDS Commission, chaired by the Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, to advise on policy and to co-ordinate the implementation of the national programme.
    (End Snip)

    Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commissions home page graphic :
    We Care … Do You?.

    Who are they addressing?

  21. Curiously amused

    It seems this type of reception awaits anyone who wants to do good by way of ‘charitable’ interventions, both at the governmental and ‘man on the street level’.

    Funny… I continue to be amused because I was around when these same writers at BFP lambasted a certain well-intentioned grassroots project and published speculation and innuendo about it in much the same fashion as their VECO ‘story’, and now have the gaul talk about Peter Allard being treated badly and not being supported in his similarly charitable efforts.

    ***********************

    BFP replies…

    What was the “well-intentioned grassroots project” that we lambasted Curiously Amused? Would that have been putting a BLP candidate in charge of giving away thousands of dollars of home renovations to people in the riding where he will be running?

    You just don’t get it, do you? That was a corrupt conflict of interest, or … as it is more widely known in government management circles… “standard operating procedure”.

  22. sick and fed up sylvan

    Downright shameful! Really shows the inhumanity of Lizzy and Owing. These jokers like Barbadians to believe that they love and care for them oh so much. They like their votes, that’s all. Terminal AIDS and cancer patients have no value because their vote is not certain. That is why they can be treated like this. Shame! Shame on the BLP which wants to turn Barbados into a hospice for wealthy foreigners to come here and die. Rich foreigners are important but not Barbadians. things like these make me sick and fed up. now you understand the story behind my name. I SICK AND FED UP WITH OWEN AND HIS SICKENING BUNCH

  23. How Many?

    How many innocent Barbadians died unnecessary and horrible deaths for the several years that Owen and Liz twiddled their thumbs waiting for the reality of millions dying around the world ( especially in Africa ) and for foreign funds to become available from PAHO ( David Shorey —Trustee for the funds )?

  24. Jolly

    Why are you surprised at the action of these two “individuals”. Over the years, there have been numerous incidents where the “beloved” BLP has shown that they care about no one but themselves and their supporters. What else must they do before the people of Barbados realise that everyone of them is on a money making trip of their own? Remember when Owen was in opposition and stated that he could not survive on the “pittance” he was making? Well, he’s making millions now, albeit dishonestly. These people MUST be removed from office when elections are called. This story should be all over the world.

  25. Curiously amused

    BFP – Thanks for the patronizing reply but for your reference I was not referring to the Bostic/Kensington project. Maybe it is you who just “don’t get” that every critic here is not a government supporter. Add to that that I am vehemently against your government’s policies, so in future don’t hint that I’m a sympathizer.

    Since the tone of the comments thus far is dealing with the story at hand, I will take my leave and not discuss the point I raised earlier. I cannot remember what project it was that you castigated since it was some time ago and would require me to search the archives, but when I do I will reply to you in a more private setting.

  26. notesfromthemargin

    Seeing that my blog was quoted here (or rather quoted out of context) I’ll respond. If you chose to visit NotesFromTheMargin, you would see that far from celebrating any “victory” the post notes what is really the first positive sign EVER that we MIGHT have a chance of avoiding the abyss.

    Barbados has recorded remarkable drops in AIDS mortality (scientific fact not open to political dispute) however has up to this point been completely unable have any success in reducing the rate of infection. (also not open to dispute)

    The post talks about the first evidence of a reduction in the rate of infection. Which if anything gives hope for the future. BFP chooses to use the post completely out of context.

    Should you wish to see the full article you are welcome to check out notesfromthemargin.wordpress.com

    Marginal

    *****************

    BFP Comments

    Hi Marginal

    We see your point but still believe that your story is too rosy by half. So we shall agree to disagree. We see some good discussion of the article at your blog and highly recommend that our readers have a visit. BTW, we totally forgot to list your blog on our sidebar – but I’ll fix that now.

    Cheers

    Robert

  27. Wishing in Vain

    Please tell me whats up with this scam to arrange to pay party supporters double the price of their land if part of this excess payment is paid back to Owing and

  28. BFP

    BFP Comments

    Hi Marginal

    We see your point but still believe that your story is too rosy by half. So we shall agree to disagree. We see some good discussion of the article at your blog and highly recommend that our readers have a visit.

    http://notesfromthemargin.wordpress.com/2007/06/30/good-news-about-the-fight-on-aids/

    BTW, we totally forgot to list your blog on our sidebar – but I’ll fix that now.

    Cheers

    Robert

  29. Rumplestilskin

    Notes says ”Barbados has recorded remarkable drops in AIDS mortality (scientific fact not open to political dispute) however has up to this point been completely unable have any success in reducing the rate of infection. (also not open to dispute)”

    Ah. So by this assertion we can get an idea of the amount being spent on drugs etc to keep people alive (apart from those few who have natural resistance to HIV).

    However, my other question is whether we have an idea of how many of deaths are actually attirbuted to the ‘primary cause’ i.e. aids and how many to secondary causes which manifest after the HIV infection?

    Secondly, how can we get a handle on it when the common practice is multiple partners by both men and women, young, very young in some cases AND old.

    Further, the chances are that those infected can living longer with the assistance of drugs etc, will only be more encouraged to be less inclined to worry about passing infection etc (the idea that it does not kill etc). You might think that statement unfair, but lack of education, lack of spiritual thinking etc does have an effect on outlook.

    No one could convince me other than that HIV infection is rife and getting worse by the second.

    The fact that some people with HIV (even without drugs and at least in the early years of infection) look very okay makes matters worse (the view that he/she look alright, thus must be alright to have sex with).

    The only way to prevent further rampant infection is to keep trying to educate our youth that their bodies are indeed temples for the soul to inhabit.
    And where they ‘cannot resist’ if the drive is too strong for a particular partner, to use protection.

    I say the youth, because it is with them that the future lies, older adults have their ways and attitudes that are harder to change.

  30. Whilst Liz Thompson persists in behaving like a silly school girl at most times and Owen Arthur is full of b.s … any proposal by Mr. Allard should have fiited in with the overall policies of Gov’t in respect of HIV/AIDS management. I suspect that Mr. Arthur still is not taking this issue seriously.

    Neither his (Owen’s) lifestyle nor that of his Minister of Health (Jerome) would indicate that they know how to lead by example.

    I am so sick of the double standards and corruption in this island that I have decided to avoid paying taxes wherever and however I can, and have also suggested that my children do not return here after college graduation, if Owen wins the next election. They have options … most Bajans don’t …..

  31. Wishing in Vain

    Well said as below -:
    When will they stop making excuses and putting on plasters and set about doing the peoples work and fixing the ills at the QEH and the health system in general.
    When we can spend $ 180 Mill on Cricket world cup and cannot or just do not care to address the welfare of the nation we are in a sorry state.
    I hope the new stadium can provide the facilities to heal the sick and provide facilities for carrying out surgeries and baby deliveries, see after the needs of asthma and heart attack victims.
    To you Mr Walcott you are a disaster waiting to happen, never has someone promised so much and delivered so little, if running your mouth was getting the job done then you would have scored full marks but unfortunately the real test is actually WORKING and I am afraid to say in your case you have failed miserably, have you considered doing the nation a favour and throw in the towel and resigning give it to Mia as she has plenty time on her hands to get involved after all she must have an in depth and intimate knowledge of the workings of the hospital.
    The only one close to you in this department must be our C J when he was in politics remember him promising to hang all of them on death row once he was elected and the people of St.Thomas foolishly elected him and to this date how many have actually been hung ZERO NOT A SINGLE ONE.
    Politicians day talk and their night talk are never the same.
    ps another amazing point on this CWC issue can you believe that in that figure of $ 180 Mill that as much as $ 50 mill has been spent on security wonder who is connected where and who is doing well out of this allocation.

  32. passin thru

    In 1995 when Owen “$” Arthur and Liz “I hate Caucasian men” Thompson refused Mr. Allard’s offer of a multi-million dollar AIDS and Cancer patient care home, Barbados had no HIV/AIDS plan.

    Why did they refuse Allard’s offer ?

    Bigotry and Pride? (can’t let a Caucasian Male do something good for blacks) or Money? (Allard wouldn’t pay bribes or hire the “proper” consultants to develop the project)

    How much of the WHO and World Bank Aids money really made it to patient care? How much went to “consultants” doing reports for the Barbados government?

    I hate the corruption that spread all over this rock since Arthur’s gang took power.

  33. Wishing in Vain

    Why would anyone even feel that Owing would be caring of our needs, he has fulfilled his plan of action and that is to be the most corrupt politician Barbados has seen in its history, his bank account is brimming full (lord help us if we get crazy and allow him more freedom to steal even more wrecklessly)with the paybacks from the Sandy Lane type crowds, the C O Williams gang, the Sixts, The Pembertons and they are many others that he has gone granted favours for that are indebted to, and let us not mention his split on the prison project, the flyovers, the 2,500 slot machines, the gems project and the list keeps growing.
    He does not need what we need things like medical care is needed for us lesser mortals who are dependent on Jerome Walcott’s disaster area of the QEH for our care when we fall sick but with Owings wealth that he has amassed he is not needy of the QEH for his health care this he has taken care of while he jets around the world at our expense 1st class and can make the visit to the Harley Street specialist and have the best care in clean surroundings.
    Should he have an emergency requirement to get out of the island in a hurry for medical care their will be the air ambulance at his request do any of us live this life of luxary and opportunity ?

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  36. Curious

    Its hard to tax a free clinic, none in the insurance cartels can make any profit off of it. No slush fund for buddie contractors there, no board of directors sitting in the political pocket. Imagine the mass exodus of doctors from the QEH if such a place were to be in operation an actually paying its doctors.

    Wonder what Tony Blair would say…

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