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We Welcome Speed Cameras Despite Delays

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We have today welcomed the announcement by Government that at last the speed cameras, which have been in place for so long, will shortly become operational and we’ll be carefully monitoring when this actually happens. The whole episode has been an embarassment to the Minister for Transport who really should not make too much of finally getting this project off the ground, if this latest announcement by Government is to be believed.

Trevor Hammond, GSD MP, said “It’s important to look back at the reasons cited for the introduction of speed cameras which the Minister said was to address “the numerous concerns resulting from serious or lethal injuries as a direct result of excessive speeding on our roads”. Those were his words not ours and it was therefore according to him a matter of public safety and yet the Minister was saying this in early November 2015, nearly 18 months ago!
“He also explained in that press release that “all the infrastructure and legislation for the speed cameras is now in place” and that our roads “will no doubt be safer for all”. The legislation that the Minister said was in place in November 2015 was only passed by Parliament in October 2016. It is a remarkable indictment of the Minister’s abject failure in respect of this project, his Government’s lack of priorities on matters of public safety and the propensity of this administration to mislead the public that this project might be coming to fruition over a year later than first announced”.

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Doctor resignations will affect continuity of care

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Yet another consultant has left the GHA according to information being received by the GSD from distressed patients who have had appointments cancelled.  This follows the resignation of Dr Kovac, a surgeon at the hospital, within the last few weeks and four consultants last year together with an unprecedented morale survey conducted by doctors at the hospital.  This time, we are told it is Dr Lorenc the endocrinologist that has suddenly resigned. The news has been so sudden that patients were called yesterday to be told that appointments with the doctor today were cancelled.  Dr Lorenc was a highly regarded doctor who saw (amongst other patients) people suffering from diabetics.  It is inevitable that this and other recent resignations will create an unfortunate vacuum in continuity of care. The GSD calls on the Government to explain what contingency plans it has in place to reassure patients who have had their appointments cancelled that they will be seen by alternative doctors within a reasonable period of time.

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GSD successfully drives forward its position on mandatory drugs testing in prisons

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We are pleased that as a direct result of our questioning in the last session of Parliament the Government has agreed with our position, namely, that we should ensure that the Prison Service makes use of the statutory powers it has in order to make mandatory drugs testing of inmates a reality.  It will be recalled that it was the former GSD Government that made provision for mandatory drugs testing in Prisons but some 5 years later the Government has been very slow to expedite this critical work within our Prisons.

Last year Elliott Phillips MP asked the former Justice Minister Gilbert Lucudi QC MP questions on the mandatory testing of prisoners.  We were told three things by the former Justice Minister (1) that the technology for such tests was not calibrated (2) that the Superintendent preferred voluntary arrangements with Prisoners in exchange for privileges (3) that the Superintendent of Prisons had not issued the requisite statutory notice despite the legal framework being put in place by a GSD Government over 5 years ago.

In the recent parliamentary session the newly appointed Justice Minister agreed with the Opposition and accepted our invitation to speak with the Superintendent in order to ensure that mandatory drugs testing of inmates was to be actively pursued.

Elliott Phillips, Shadow Justice Minister, said “we believe it is right that the authorities use the powers at their disposal to get inmates away from drugs and their abuse and moving them towards making a positive contribution to our community. Substance abuse must be tackled at ever level in our community and if we have the statutory muscle to tackle drugs there is no reason why we should not do so. We continue to express disappointment not to have received a explanation for the 5 year delay of the Government to ensure that mandatory drugs testing becomes a practical reality but we welcome Minister Costa’s stance and his commitment to working with us on this important issue”.

Elliott Phillips

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