06 May, 2009


Does Anguilla have an effective ambulance service? Recently, National Bank of Anguilla and Caribbean Commercial Bank donated EC$80,000.00 to the Health Authority of Anguilla for the purchase of a new ambulance. This new ambulance was intended to replace the two old ones that frequently failed to start, or broke down during an emergency.

The need was obvious. As Dr Bonnie Richardson-Lake, PS Health Department, said at the cheque presenting ceremony,

Everyone in Anguilla needs to feel that they have access to good quality care, and that in case of an emergency they would be well looked after, thus making them feel more secure.

The cheque presenting ceremony

More recently, Cap Juluca Hotel handed over an even newer ambulance to the Health Authority. It cost US$85,000.00.

As CEO of the Health Authority, Darlene Baptiste, said at the handing over ceremony, she was grateful for the partnership between the hotel and the Authority,

which provided an opportunity to provide optimum health-care services to the people of Anguilla.”

According to the newspaper report, Chairman of the HAA, Dr Franklin Lloyd, said,

the provision of the ambulance was another demonstration of the Authority’s determination to continue to improve the quality and timeliness of health care. He called on the Emergency Medical Technicians to function at all times as dedicated professionals with efficiency, commitment and compassion, noting that although the ambulance was well equipped, it was for them to operate it at a high level to ensure quality service.”

The handing over ceremony

At the same handing over ceremony for the new Cap Juluca ambulance, the Director of Medical Services, the Rt Hon Dr Sir Kennedy Simmonds spoke. He said that,

the state-of-the-art ambulance, coupled with the ongoing updating training of the Emergency Medical Technicians, would help the HAA to deliver more effective and efficient first emergency response service to the people of Anguilla.”

Cap Juluca's new ambulance

You would think, with all that new equipment, not to mention the high hopes and promises expressed at the two handing over ceremonies, Anguilla’s ambulance and emergency service would be one of the best in the West Indies.

Listen to Darren Augustus’ story. In the calypso world he is known as The Mighty Tornado. About two weeks ago, on 24 April, he ate lobster. It was meant to be his birthday celebration. It turns out he had developed an allergy to lobster. By the following day he had become violently ill. His limbs had swelled up. He could not walk. He was vomiting, and suffering from diarrhea. His head was spinning.

He did what you or I would have done. He telephoned the hospital for an ambulance to come and rush him to the hospital.

The response? “Sorry, we have no gasoline for any of the ambulances.”

Fortunately, his girlfriend could drive. She got him to the hospital, no thanks to any of the three ambulances then in the service of the HAA.

Read it, and weep for us. Clearly, Anguilla at present has no effective ambulance service. Regardless of the amounts of money donated and invested.

My recommendation is that whoever is in charge of that department ought to be fired, for cause, forthwith.

I only waiting to hear the calypso!


  1. In all fairness to the United Front Government, they warned us this might happen in their 2005 Manifesto. They promised us, as a programme priority in health sector development, "Investment in improved plant, facilities, equipment and technology." They didn't include investing in supplies, such as gasoline.

    "2005 and beyond: Steering the Right Course" dem say.

  2. Is this the same Health Authority we're being told is prepared to protect us from swine flu?

  3. In a front page article in this week's "Anguillian" the PS Health assures us that "officials will be questioning travellers entering the island."

    They are using a printed form. I have seen it. It is strangely directed to both travellers and port officials. Arriving passengers are asked to indicate if they have a fever, have been coughing or sneezing, were in Mexico during the past week, etc. So far, so good.

    Then below that it instructs Immigration officers that if the passenger has answered "yes" to any of the above questions, they must be isolated immediately [from not only us but their hapless spouse or child or whatever] and other officials notified. Only a very stupid person would sign answer "yes" to any of the questions after reading the bottom of the form.

    Was this form designed by the same genius responsible for keeping gas in the ambulances?

  4. It appears to be a situation of bad credit on the part of the HAA which led to no gas being in the three Ambulances. What is the astute CFO doing? I imagine he has radically reduced expenditure to ensure that the PAM leader,the inept CEO, the chairman of the board, (who in effect is the head of the HAA) and himself receive their ridiculously exorbitant salaries.
    This HAA is the greatest liability to the Anguilla government to date. The Minister of Health dose not have the will to admit that this joke of a public health administration is a financial drain on the taxpayers of Anguilla. Even Eric Reid who handed Mr. Rogers this "PRIZE" on a silver platter can see that it is a drain on the government and a boon for the well positioned who take advantage of the situation while it last. 'Grab what you can now, cause we don't know if there will be a Health Authority after the next election!' This seem to be the mindset driving those in charge.'Let's keep sweet-talking Neil and convince him that things are going good'. Poor, hapless Neil!

    In a bid to save some much needed funds, the HAA executive has finally swallowed its pride and descended from its lofty perch upstairs the Hubert Hughes building. They have now found residence in the lowly confines of the long vacant Mental Ward on the grounds of the PAH. The way the HAA informed the public of its new location was quite tactful and rather amusing."They are now located in the building north of the senior citizens home on the grounds of the Princess Alexandra Hospital".

    We are now left to speculate where those mentally challenged of our community will be treated or rehabilitated;and where exactly will those nurses (who according to Neil are currently in training to care for these mentally ill patients) occupy on their return?

    We can now only conclude that the administration of health care in Anguilla has totally gone MAD!

  5. Reminds of the "old" hospital: I took my son in one time only to find out the hospital had tape, but no gauze and not even a single bandaid. Now, ambulances without gasoline... Great progress.

    I do hope that the airing of this discrepancy (to be nice) will actually make "someone" do something to arrange for the gas.

  6. If there is no gasoline in the ambulances, where does gasoline come from to supply all of the "G" licensed vehicles we see on the Anguilla roads (which, oh by the way, usually have only one person in each and are frequently seen at supermarkets, C&W, beach bars, etc. during business hours)?

  7. Very good point!! Where does the gas come from to keep all our good bureaucrats and politicians cruising the island?? Ambulances should be able to get fueled at the same pump...

  8. I can not believe ppl of Anguilla would sit and entertain these talks on the world wide web that it not only false but highly unlikely to happen in this Day and age! disgraceful and its only in the name of politics.

  9. The above poster who says the story is false is implying that Mr. Augustus invented the entire story and did so "only in the name of politics."

    It's impossible for me to believe that any sane Anguillian could invent such a story and consent to having his name published as the source. I simply can't believe it.

    I am left to conclude that the story is true, not matter how unlikely it sounds. I respect Mr. Augustus for agreeing to tell his story and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him in public.

  10. I am waiting for someone in Government to actually do something to give some indication that they ever take time to think about serving the people let alone actually care about the people's welfare. A nice start would be to actually fire everyone in the HAA who (1) knew about the lack of gasoline, (2) should have known about the lack of gasoline, or (3) supervised anyone in the first two categories. Unless people are actually held to account and forced to do something in order to receive their paychecks, all we can ever expect is "Sorry, we have no gasoline and don't expect to ever get around to getting any." Is there anyone in Government who will actually have the guts to stand up before the public, decry this situation, apologize, and seek to do something about it? Please come forward!! I doubt anyone will.........

  11. One of the shortcomings in public servants' accountability is the fact that none of them have actual job descriptions, and therefore it is not necessarily clear whose job it was to make sure the ambulance contained gas - at least not to the point of getting fired over it. This self-imposed grey area is quite unbelievable and shows how poorly organized human resources management is in the public sector in Anguilla. Bottom line: if your contract and job description don't clarify exactly what you are supposed to be accountable for, it may be very hard to get fired over anything, short of a criminal act.

    This is just another example of how making government accountable and transparent is easier said than done, and how much the outcome depends on a system of checks and balances, rooted in good recordkeeping.

  12. I have followed this story with great concern, and some of the posts are correct and if true it is absolutely a shame and should be investigated properly so that nothing like this ever happens again. But two wrongs dont make a right, and the statement in the last post "One of the shortcomings in public servants' accountability is the fact that none of them have actual job descriptions" is absolute nonsense and a disservice to the Public Service. I hope the person who posted it does the research that should have been done before writing such nonsense and then apologizes.

  13. To the person who recently wrote:

    "notice u only post the comments that u like ,sent a comment to be posted on this topic but i guess u didnt like the content lost most respect that i had for u"

    This Blog is moderated for a reason. I do not post illiterate gibberish, even when I like the content. If you want your comment to be readable, type it in standard English. I also don't permit scurrilous, pointless insults.

    Just type your original comment properly, ensuring it makes sense, and resend it.


  14. I find it very hard to believe that, educated individuals on this forum, will sit and talk and actually BELIEVE that ALL three ambulances would not have any gasoline them?
    Would it ever occur to you that maybe a wrong number was dialed? Did he actually call 911 or dialed the hospital number to be transferred and couldve dialied the wrong number and gotten that response?
    Come on people...


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