Floating in the wind
Stabroek News
April 1, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I sometimes wonder why we bother to have a parliament. Nothing it does seems to matter, not even when there is a great deal of public attention given to its work.

Seven years ago, after our longest public debate, we passed an abortion law that was so well developed some critics said it was too advanced for our society.

But in the seven years since then the government has done nothing to implement that law. It has not trained doctors in new methods of treatment. It has not trained nurses in counselling. It has not educated the public about the law. It has not even complied with the law by providing a service at its hospitals and health centres.

The current Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, has publicly stated his intention to implement the law. But he seems unable to get any traction within his own Ministry or in the George-town Public Hospital Corpo-ration. Nothing is happening. We seem to have forgotten how to make things work. By contrast, just two weeks ago, Nepal passed a new abortion law. And within one week, there was a major conference addressing the challenge of implementation. For your convenience, I will include a copy of one paper presented at that meeting.

This is our calamity. The government is not being supported or pushed into action by anyone - not the academics, not the business people, not the trades unions and not the religious institutions. We seem to be trapped in limbo, just floating in the wind.

Yours faithfully,

Cedric Marshall