BASSETERRE, ST.KITTS – Former Economist at the United Nations in New York, Kittitian Mrs. Willa Liburd has expressed alarm that persons who uphold the law in the stem cell research scandal in St Kitts “are seemingly moved out of the way for their insistence on the proper procedures.”
Mrs. Liburd is also hoping that civil society such as the St. Kitts and Nevis Medical Board, the St. Kitts and Nevis Medical Association, the St Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, the St. Kitts Christian Council, the St. Kitts and Nevis Hotel Association, the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, the St. Kitts Business Forum and the St. Kitts Teachers Union will remove their muzzle and comment on the stem cell matter at the Joseph N. France General Hospital which has led to the retirement of the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin by the Team Unity Government of Dr. Timothy Harris.
Mrs Liburd is also calling on the responsible government authority to clarify the issues.
Dr Martin has disclosed that he had raised an objection to the stem cell research project been carried out on the private ward of the Joseph N. France General Hospital as the project was not properly approved as is required by law, and that the non-resident medical doctor involved is not licensed to practice in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Stem cell research or experimentation must be guided by ethical safeguards and other safeguards. Knowledge of those safeguards is the responsibility of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer…subject to the provisions of the Public Health Act. Matters having to do with experimentation, research, have to be regulated and the competent authority is the Office of the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health,” Dr. Martin told local media house WINNFM.
Reacting to the issue on the SKN@yahoogroups chat list, Mrs Liburd said the matter was a very serious one.
“When such a controversial undertaking is not approved as is required by law, and that the non-resident medical doctor involved is not licensed to practice in St. Kitts and Nevis, it is cause for alarm. It becomes even more alarming if those who are there to uphold the law are seemingly moved out of the way for their insistence on the proper procedures to be followed,” said Mrs. Liburd.
She added that the public is awaiting clarification from the responsible government authority. Our government political leaders are not our Chief Technocrats and they should be mindful of this. We have to hold the incumbent government’s feet to the fire and insist on the practice of good governance in all its aspects” and “hope that our civil society organizations will weigh in on this.”