Former Governmment Minister of Guyana pleased with hospital decision: Bajan Reporter exclusive from Rawle Nelson
PNC presidential hopeful, Dr. Faith Harding has expressed satisfaction and commendation to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) for what she calls ‘bold steps’ in their dismissal of convicted child-sex felon Dr. Vishwamintra Persaud.
Dr. Harding acknowledged the fact that Dr. Persaud was given a license to practice in Guyana, was employed by the GPHC and the revelation that the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has admitted responsibility for employing a convicted felon further points to serious deficiencies within Government and in particular with the Ministry of Health.
The PNC candidate stressed both as a women and youth activist, incidents like these raise serious concerns as the overall wellbeing and safety of both women and children are critically important.
Dr Harding declared that not only do critical questions need to be asked but swift, appropriate actions also should be taken. She pointed out that while the Minister has publicly declared his responsibility, he has not indicated if and what actions and/or sanctions would be taken against Dr. Persaud. “The Minister admitted that he made a mistake and said that he will take responsibility but what the public wants to know is what action/s if any would be taken against the Minister for erring in this situation especially knowing the critical nature of child sexual abuse in our country” she said.
“I must however express my satisfaction and commendation to the management of the hospital for the action that they have now taken. It is time that people who are entrusted with responsibilities in public offices not only take responsibility for their actions but also face the consequences and therefore Dr. Ramsammy should face some form of consequences,” she noted.
According to Dr. Harding she was relieved to learn from reports in the press that the hospital took the decision to fire Persaud noting that ensuring trust and confidence is maintained is of critical importance.
The medical professional revealed that the Minister’s statement leaves much to be desired from noting that his belief that the matter is now behind all of those concerned, is inaccurate. “The Minister should be cognizant of the fact that the GPHC should always ensure that providing everyone that comes to the hospital with the best quality care that they can get is of paramount importance.” She expressed the hope that the Minister and other stakeholders will not only remember the experience, declaring that the situation has provided important and invaluable lessons. She insisted that the role of the medical profession should be made clear as one of the key entry points into the child protection system and in delivering justice and protection for children.
The popular activist stressed that while the decision taken by the hospital is a small victory in removing convicted child sex felons from areas and places that they should not be, there is an increased need for a more aggressive approach in curbing what she described as an evident problem in Guyana. “The need for closer attention to be paid to persons who are being employed and/or associated with women and children is pertinent to the success of eliminating this problem and I would like to give the assurance that my team and I will do whatever that we can in continuing to highlight this problem. One newspaper has quoted Director of Medical Services, Dr. Madan Rambarran, as stating that he did not believe that Dr. Persaud posed a risk to the population. This is a rather unfortunate statement. Perhaps as a medical doctor, he is not aware that child sexual abuse is associated with serious mental and physical health problems, substance abuse, victimization and criminality in adulthood. It is a serious crime that should not be taken lightly or callously.” she said.
According to New York Department of Health documents, on April 18, 2008, Dr Persaud was found guilty, based on a guilty plea, of “attempted course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree.” On June 11, the same year, he was sentenced to an eight-year order of protection, ten years probation, fined US$25,500 and various fees and surcharges.
Dr. Persaud abused the child from 2003 to October 2007 and only stopped after an adult was told. His license, # 207867, was revoked in November 2007, following a hearing before the State of New York’s Department of Health State Board for Professional Medical Conduct.