BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – The unauthorised Regenerative Stem Cell project approved by the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government and implemented without the necessary legislation and approval of the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin is a major international health scandal.
That’s the view of West Basseterre St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) legislator Hon Konris Maynard at a SKNLP Press Conference on Tuesday.
He said “as well intentioned as any project may be, it must be soundly rooted in law, moral, and ethical standards.”
The first term parliamentarian detailed the facts, events, and reports pertaining to the present Government’s Cabinet, Ministry of Health, the CMO, the J N France General Hospital and the minutes from the Hospital staff meeting termed ‘The Regenerative Stem Cell Research Project’ which led to the immediate removal from office of Dr. Patrick Martin, the Chief Medical Officer and Mr. Andrew Skerritt, the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Health within 24 hours although there is no allegation of wrongdoing against them.
“The point here is that, whether it is a cure for HIV/AIDS, a Regenerative Stem Cell Project, or as the junior minister puts it, a plasma-based infused therapy, we are not a third world nation, unregulated, do- as- you-like country, that does not abide by the rule of law and internationally established standards,” said MP Maynard.
“We say here today that a multitude of laws, morals, and ethical standards were broken by this Ministry of Health leading to this international scandal,” said Mr Maynard.
“The Hon. Wendy Phipps, Senator/Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, who I understand is a devoted communion -taking Catholic, is embroiled in blatant mistruths about the Stem Cell Project started at the JNF on June 13th. Her substantive Minster, the Hon. Eugene Hamilton confirmed in a news item carried by WINNFM that a stem cell research project was indeed approved by the Cabinet. Additionally, we have become privy to the minutes of a staff meeting of Nurses on 8th June 2016, where the following was recorded: ‘Three rooms from the private ward will be used to facilitate the Regenerative Stem Cell Research Program which should begin Monday 13th June 2016. It proceeded to identify the two nurses that were assigned to the program,” he pointed out.
In calling on the Minister of State to resign, Mr. Maynard said several questions are still unanswered.
“Why was the CMO sent on immediate leave? What is it that the government has to protect so much that they are willing to go this far to keep the project secret. We want to know and I suspect the media also wants to know,” said MP Maynard.