BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The implementation of Universal Health Care (UHC) coverage in St. Kitts and Nevis will be a seminal moment in the history of the twin-island nation, which will bring with it access to quality medical care to reduce the suffering of the sick, says Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Health and National Health Insurance.
Speaking during a tour by the Federal Cabinet of manufacturing companies at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Site on Feb. 11, Minister Hamilton gave assurance to a woman, who works at Jaro Electronics, and who lost her daughter-in-law to cancer a few years ago that help is coming with UHC to assist persons to get the medical care they need and to pay their medical bills.
“I want to be there for people like Akilah, so look forward to an announcement later in the year when this will come and how it will come,” said Hamilton, speaking directly to the woman’s personal loss.
Hamilton told the workers that the Commission for Universal Health Care is finalising a report to submit to Cabinet that will recommend how the coverage plan can be realised.
“We have too many people who have some chronic illnesses who may have to travel abroad, who sometimes don’t have it, and the point is you are around the country collecting or begging a contribution as some people don’t bother with you,” said Hamilton.
“This month, we should have some information on the recommendation from the Commission and after we have looked at those recommendations Cabinet will determine when it will start, how it will start, which sections of the country or the workforce will begin to get benefits first, or what benefits levels we will commence with.”
The minister said there were three seminal moments in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis that stand out to him.
The first was when then Premier Robert L. Bradshaw acquired the sugar lands from planters in 1975 that opened the doorway for ordinary citizens to own land.
The second was the establishment of Social Security in 1977 that provides pensions for retiree and other benefits for workers.
The third seminal moment he mentioned was the abolishment of the Personal Income Tax in 1980.
Hamilton said the UHC is the new seminal moment that will positively transform the lives of the populace.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris led the tour to the various manufacturing plants and assured the workers that “government is busy doing your business … and “will be there for you and will be there with you.”
Other Cabinet ministers visiting the plants were Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Shawn Richards, Senior Minister Honourable Vance Amory, and Ministers Honourable Lindsay Grant, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, Honourable Wendy Phipps, and Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins.
Also, on the tour were the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Ron Dublin-Collins, who was supported by the Labour Commissioner Shernel James and Deputy Labour Commissioner, Deon Webbe.
The visits form part of a calendar of activities commemorating the fourth-year anniversary of the Government of National Unity’s assumption to office.
Other celebratory activities to come include a Youth Forum on Thursday, Feb. 14; National Volunteer Day on Saturday, Feb. 16; Church Service at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Nevis on Sunday, Feb. 17; Church Service in St. Kitts at the Zion Moravian Church on Feb. 24; and a Gospel Concert at Greenland’s on Feb. 24.