i met with the pM to Talk cancer treatment
was just three years ago that I found myself sitting in front of
Prime Minister Patrick Manning in his San Fernando constituency
My mother had recently passed away after a 16-month battle with
cancer. My aunt, who was a registered nurse and worked on a cancer
ward for many years in one of the most renowned hospitals in the
US, accompanied me to the meeting.
She was pivotal in making my mothers long fight and eventual
passing as painless and peaceful as possible.
We had gone to present a proposal and to seek assistance or guidance
from the Prime Minister. The proposal was a simple one: to set up
a non-profit organisation to supply much needed drugs, equipment
and professional services for anyone in need of cancer treatment
or who was in the last stages of life.
At the time of my mothers diagnosisshe had Stage 3C
ovarian cancerthe doctors said frankly that if we keep her
in Trinidad she may last three months for the most.
They also stated that the survival rate for stage three cancer in
Trinidad is zero.
My family and I were fortunate to be in a position to send my mother
abroad for treatment, in part because she had major medical insurance.
But even with the insurance my brother and I were still left with
over half a million dollars in loan debt.
When my mother returned to Trinidad to continue her chemo-therapy
we couldnt find the drugs; we had to bring them in from abroad.
When we had to administer her treatment, my aunt had to show the
doctors how to hook up her port-o-cath because in Trinidad we still
administer through the skin.
When the pain became too much, we had to import the transdermal
patches for her pain management. When we finally got a prescription
for IV morphine for her pain, we were subjected to a half-hour interrogation
by the suppliers while my mother was lying home in pain.
When she slipped into a coma my aunt stayed awake almost 20 hours
a day because we couldnt find a registered nurse that knew
how to use a port-o-cath. When we had to put her on oxygen, she
almost suffocated one day because there is no medical supplier of
oxygen tanks and regulators for such an occasion.
During this whole ordeal, my family and I realised one very sobering
point: getting cancer treatment and being able to afford it was
something very few people in Trinidad could do. And to add insult
to injury, after youve wiped out your finances trying to give
your loved ones a longer and better quality of life before they
pass on, you can barely afford or even find the facilities to allow
them to die with dignity, in peace and with no pain.
Back to the meeting with Prime Minister Manning. In response to
our proposal which had the support of many prominent doctors, specialists
and surgeons in Trinidad, as well as the assistance of my mothers
specialist from the US, the Prime Minister suggested that we partner
with a hospice in the US to open a facility in Trinidad.
My mouth dropped, my heart stopped and my eyes looked down at the
floor. We had just explained how expensive treatment was in the
private institutions (nursing homes) and how lacking the facilities,
drugs and services were and we were being told to try a hospice
that is even more expensive than anything offered in Trinidad at
I honestly cannot say if anything with regard to cancer treatment
has changed in Trinidad since that faithful day and I suspect not,
since the Prime Minister himself has had to travel to Cuba for his
treatment. I wish him a speedy recovery; this dreadful disease is
something I wish no one should ever have to go through or see their
loved one go through.
But to this day, I am astounded that our Government, past and present,
cannot give the health sector the attention it so desperately needs.
Sometimes you either cant understand or refuse to understand
the reality of certain situations until it hits home.
PM Manning, if there is ever a legacy you want to leave, let it
be that you revolutionised the health sector in Trinidad.
Ramsden, via e-mail
DPTT need to focus on building
I have no issue with the leaders of either the MND or the DPTT but
their recent letters in the Guardian reek of insignificance and
If either of these gentlemen believe that their political movements
can make a significant impact on the politics of T&T, then they
need to focus attention on building their partys infrastructure
and craft a suitable image (or ethos) that can command popular support.
Political battles take place on the ground in the trenches, not
in lofty rhetoric and finger-pointing.
The COP has been in existence for a relatively short period of time
but managed to secure almost 23 per cent of electoral votes just
one year after its formation.
What have these men done to grow their group from a paper party
to a national movement?
Earth Is Dying
Mother Earth is orbiting in peril
her children are causing pain
She is taking a beating, shes overheating
Shes weeping acid rain.
Mother Earth gave us all she
but alas! alas! alas!
We still drill her oil, smelt ore from her soil
now shes passin greenhouse gas.
Our planet is in peril and thats a fact
mankind has sealed her fate
Religion and politics are creating fanatics
Mother Earth is in a terrible
Mans isms and schism exude toxic fumes
that are contaminating our
Causing tsunamis of warfare everywhere
and just hopelessness to be
Mother Earth is ailing from climate change
shes tottering on the brink
Yet man creates weapons of mass destruction
to end is sooner than we think.
Man is using and abusing our planet Earth
at her needs we steups an
The signs are clear, amargeddon is near
stop the world leh mih get off.
Vic Dolan Clarke
must now protect themselves
With the number of murders for this year now reaching 522, it is
quite clear that the Govern-ment never had any solutions to
the escalating rate of these crimes.
There is no doubt that other serious crimes, such as fraud, theft
and assault, are also rising. However, the reporting of these crimes
has become unimportant as murders keep taking the leading role in
the statistics and head-lines.
It is now obvious that all that can be done is for honest citizens
to resort to whatever means necessary to protect themselves and
It is pointless pleading to the Government anymore.
fabulous and outstanding
Congratulations to local beauty Gabrielle Walcott on placing second
runner-up in the Miss World 2008 contest.
Like our representative last year, Valene Maharaj, Gabrielle was
outstanding and fabulous. Both Valene and Gabrielle just missed
out but they have done our beleaguered nation proud.
Perhaps more important than wining the Miss World title is that
Gabrielle coped the Beauty with a Purpose title for
her amazing work with the Paediatric Ward at the Mt Hope Hospital.
There is no doubt that Gabby is a remarkable person and I know she
will continue to work hard for the betterment of herself and her
Stay beautiful and strong, Gabrielle, because our nation needs more
people like you. You (and Valene and Ayana Ayoung Chee and Priya
Chandrabally) are the epitome of true beauty and the perfect role
models for all the young women of our country. Thank you for the
publicity for T&T at contest
Im still savouring T&Ts tremendous success at Miss
World 2008. Its great seeing the front pages of the local
dailies graced with a beaming smile that made our nation proud.
From the moment the announcer named Miss T&T as the winner of
the Beauty with a Purpose award, it was apparent our
troubled nation would have a moment in the sun.
This award was the most prestigious in relation to four other fast-track
events and was bestowed on T&Ts Gabrielle Walcott for
working with children afflicted with cancer.
Her good deeds included raising $100,000 to refurbish a dilapidated
and neglected ward at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
What occurred next, as a result of that achievement, was truly a
gift from beyond. Two billion viewers saw a four-minute video clip
that featured T&T in the context of Gabrielle humanitarian nature.
Now what is the price tag on that kind of positive advertising and
exposure, reaching so many in 187 countries around the world? Priceless!
As if copping that award was not enough, Miss T&Ts gown,
designed by our own Bobby Ackbarali, was among the best three creations
of the competition, and so the sweet words Miss T&T
were heard again.
By the time the pageant was over, with Gabrielle finishing an envious
and credible third place, the name T&T was heard considerably
more than any other country, with the exception of host country
So T&T featured prominently in the living rooms of billions
of people the world over. And this is the perfect example of the
kind of publicity, pride and admiration that ample preparation for
beauty pageants brings to T&T.
It follows that adequate and timely funding by Government must no
longer be an issue. It means that every January we can look forward
to the smooth disbursement of $1 million for the promotion of T&T
Maybe then Miss Universe and Miss World franchise holder Peter Elias
will reverse his position and continue to help mould our young women
Meanwhile, congratulations to all officials of the Pageant Company,
and especially to Gabrielle, who has given so many of us a reason
to wine and cheer and to be proud again.
via post should be sent to the
St Vincent Street,
Trinidad Publishing Company Limited