McKenzie warns infirmary workers to stop harming residents
Desmond McKenzie

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Saying improvements made to the country's infirmaries are being undermined by staff who hurt and steal from the vulnerable in their care, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has warned staff that being politically connected will not save them from being fired.

"I want to make a warning. We have seen significant reduction, but it still exists in some infirmaries — I make no apology whatsoever. If is the mayor of Montego Bay give you a job in the infirmary... or any political person, anyhow you get the job, regardless of how you get the job, once you are found violating the rights of the residents in our facility, you no longer have a job in these facilities," he said.

"We've seen cases where residents have been assaulted, broke them hand, residents drop out of them bed, die on the floor of infirmaries, nobody never see that happen until the next morning when everybody wake up," he added. "That is why we have installed cameras in every infirmary in the wards so that we can monitor the residents while they sleep and look at those who are two-foot puss, taking out the goods for the poor and the destitute."

He was speaking Wednesday during a workday at the St James infirmary. There was also the handover of a therapeutic park and ground was broken for a new kitchen and dining room at the facility. Upgrades such as those initiated at the St James facility, McKenzie said, are just an example of the work his ministry has done to improve their delivery of service to residents.

He said $5 million had been spent on the therapeutic park and the painting of a mural on the wall of the facility. Another $23 million has been earmarked for the kitchen and dining room. A ward that was recently constructed at the facility is also expected to be put into use soon when furniture that was ordered arrives.

"If the truth be told, the investments that we have made are under threat because some of the persons who work within these facilities continue to prey upon the residents, continue to tek weh, continue to treat some of the residents with little or no regard," the minister said.

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