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posted 12 Jun 2017, 18:39 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 Jun 2017, 18:41 ]
Eighty years ago, this June 19th, workers in oil, sugar, on the docks and other sectors began a general strike which morphed into an insurrection, dealing death blows to colonialism not only in Trinidad and Tobago but throughout the Caribbean.

Uriah "Buzz' Butler, not Eric Williams, was at the helm of this movement which led to our independence in 1962. Several of our present day labour leaders are mobilising for the occasion via the media, offering marked down polo jerseys.

Ten days short of the 80th anniversary of this historic event, senior citizen Christopher Phillip, a working class man no doubt, dies on the lawn of the Port of Spain General Hospital where he had been placed according to reports, by two M.T.S security officers..

Image result for health care your money or your lifeFriends I am no pathologist but I want to suggest that Christopher Phillip is but another victim of capitalism, a social disorder and epidemic to which some 'leaders' of the working class seem to have accommodated themselves.

The general details of the incident seem to be that Mr. Williams '' was brought into the hospital, was treated with all protocols of care and was later discharged''. If that is where protocols of care leaves an obviously sick, very, very, sick man, then no wonder that suicides are on the rise even among the young reportedly.

Who wants to go out like that? I am not going to try to dissect the ''reports/investigations/enquiries'' that will follow. Mr. Williams died because persons and families like his cannot afford to go to the private medical facilities such as West Shore or St. Clair Medical or be flown to Cuba.* Even if he survived the hospital fees might have done him in anyway.

The media report that he was seen lying on the floor outside the department, was assisted into the department a second time, then left of his own accord. Which clearly begs the question, why was a man in such a condition allowed to leave of his own accord? If someone is drunk and falling down is he/she assisted into the driver's seat? Was he in any condition to make such judgements?

Mr. Phillip died because he was seen as no longer of use to society. He was too old to work, was unaccompanied and was in one of Minister Deyalsingh's regional health facilities. Like an old pack horse or a slave who could no longer work, whose labour has been fully expended, or whose organs could not be harvested, he was literally put out to pasture. Fortunately the gods of journalism sent a missionary our way so this gruesome episode could be recorded..

This is capitalism in full expression. Remember that money can be found for junkets to Tobago and roaming phone calls from the Bahamas; that the answer to mental illness is to have the police execute the affected; that working people cannot get roads, water, reliable transport by air, sea or land or proper, effective drugs or working C.T scanners; that the State sees the answer to the 'housing problem' in the demolition of homes; that multi-million dollar stadia are given priority over schools and extended care facilities for persons like Christopher Phillip.

When loved ones have passed, they are kept overtime because the Forensic Centre in under staffed and like the recently departed fast ferry, we cannot find a replacement/assistant for pathologist Dr. Andropov.

I think the case of Christopher Phillip should be highlighted on June 19th. Some posters/placards must appear so he is just not another sound bite or page 3 story. A relative or someone connected to him should speak from the platform. If, as some claim, we are honouring the tradition and spirit of Butler, I am sure it is what he would have done.

*During the week of Jan 17-22 individuals implicated in the events which took place in Havana's Psychiatric Hospital were charged with negligence of minors and persons with disabilities and mis-appropriation. (Editor’s. note 12 of them died). Sentences of 6-14 years imprisonment were proposed by the public prosecutor. Granma/Jan 30 2011.