July 13, 2023 -Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has announced that his government will enhance security measures for Cuban medical professionals in St Vincent and the Grenadines, following the recent attacks on two of them.
This marks the second incident of violence against Cuban healthcare workers in less than two weeks.
Expressing concern over the incidents, Prime Minister Gonsalves, who also serves as Minister of National Security, stated, “When you have two incidents, you begin to ask yourself the question and, of course, this has to be explored. Are these random incidents or is there more?”
Carnival success overshadowed by violence
During an interview on the state-owned NBC Radio, Prime Minister Gonsalves acknowledged the success of the Carnival festivities, noting that despite the positive experience for many, there have been isolated cases of violence and criminal behavior, including homicides.
He received news of the attacks early in the morning, with one Cuban doctor being assaulted and requiring surgery due to injuries sustained while working at an MRI facility.
The prime minister reassured listeners that the injured doctor is recovering well. A female Cuban professional at Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown was also struck with a stone during the same incident. The police have made an arrest and are currently conducting an investigation.
Reaching out to authorities and Cuban Ambassador
Prime Minister Gonsalves disclosed that he has already reached out to the Commissioner of Police and the Cuban Ambassador to address the situation promptly.
He further mentioned his conversation with Idinga Miller, the deputy hospital administrator at Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre, to ensure appropriate measures are taken to protect the Cuban professionals working in the healthcare sector.
Highlighting the importance of taking immediate action, Prime Minister Gonsalves emphasized that the well-being of the Cuban healthcare workers is a priority for the government.
The recent attacks follow the assault on Cuban physician Dr. Alfredo Batista Salgado on July 1, where he was slashed in the abdomen after attending a calypso show. Dr. Salgado is currently recovering in the hospital.
The government’s decision to provide additional security for Cuban medical professionals reflects their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of these individuals who contribute significantly to the healthcare services in St Vincent and the Grenadines.