If Mr Horace Dalley is not playing political games…
Mr Horace Dalley, the Opposition spokesman on health, very rarely catches our attention, let alone our admiration, largely because of his lacklustre style. But he has done so this time by at least appearing to depart from the usual approach to opposing.
Last week he offered Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton his assistance with solving the problem which has all but rendered Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) inoperative, mainly because of fumes that have threatened the health of the staff there.
Of course, we are giving Mr Dalley the benefit of the doubt that he is not playing games and that he is very serious in making his offer. After all, he was the minister of health up to only a year ago and may have important critical information about the problems at that western regional hospital.
In making his offer, Mr Dalley declared in a press statement that: "The People’s National Party reaffirms its commitment to do its part in creating a healthy Jamaica, whether we are in Government or Opposition. As such we are prepared to work with the Government to find a workable solution to the crisis facing the Cornwall Regional Hospital."
He also announced that he and his team would this morning meet with Dr Tufton, following a tour of the hospital which was scheduled for yesterday, "to discuss solutions to this national issue and to ensure that in the end, Western Jamaica has quality health care".
This is a template that we have consistently advocated in this space and which we believe makes an Opposition more credible and more effective. Health, along with crime and education, are areas which we think would benefit from a bipartisan approach and the meeting of minds by both Government and Opposition.
In this, one is not being naïve or suggesting that an Opposition is not to criticise and expose weaknesses in Government. Indeed, we are acutely aware that Opposition parties see their role as the winning of elections and therefore doing whatever is necessary to achieve that end.
Yet, thinking persons will admit that it is a shortcoming of our democracy that the Opposition can see no good, hear no good or speak no good of the governing side. There are areas of national life which are absolutely critical to our growth and development that should be excluded from the national political football game, such as those mentioned earlier.
Mr Dalley says the Opposition empathises with and supports the professional staff and patients of the hospital, whose health has been compromised and who have consequently become anxious because there seems to be no end in sight.
He has our support in saying: "…We feel that it is important that we join the Government in this cause to find an appropriate and speedy solution so that normality will return to Cornwall Regional Hospital. We will also be appealing to the Government to put measures in place to ensure that this situation does not happen again, in any medical facility in Jamaica."
If Mr Dalley is being genuine, he would have done his party and the country a good turn.