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Guyana alarmed at T&T minister’s health insurance call

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett has expressed alarm at the reported call  from a Trinidadian minister about health insurance for non-nationals in the twin-island republic.

Her comments came on Monday as debate continued on the 2014 budget and four days after a Guyanese national died after being refused medical attention at a Trinidadian hospital.

The Trinidad Guardian on Sunday reported Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan as saying that the implementation of National Health Card would clamp down on non-nationals seeking free medical attention at public health institutions. In the coming weeks, Khan said, Government will roll out the cards, which would generate a policy that would allow medical services to only nationals and some non-nationals who work in that country the report continued.

According to the Guadian, Khan also advised visitors to Trinidad and Tobago to walk with their insurance. “Maybe we should set up a policy that before you come into the country let us see your medical insurance. Medical insurance is not expensive,” he reportedly said.

Rodrigues-Birkett described the report as worrying and added that the Guyana government would be seeking clarification on the minister’s utterances. The minister pointed out that such a move would have an impact on all of the CARICOM countries. She also expressed surprise that such a move could be contemplated since in addition to possessing the most resouces in the regional bloc Trinidad and Tobago also bnefitted the most from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.