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Guyana Government Condemns Publication Of Medical Records Of Government Officials

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Guyana government has described as “unethical and disingenuous” the decision by some media houses to publish the private medical details of some government officials.

The Ministry of Health in a statement said that it wanted to voice it “absolute consternation” at the decision of the media houses for taking “cheap shots for political mileage” in publishing the reports.

It said those media houses “have revealed not only their political biases, but also an insensitive and inimical culture of journalism, towards the Government of Guyana and the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

“The Ministry of Health notes that it is well established that private details, particularly those dealing with the health and finance of citizens, are not normally exposed, except under certain ‘extreme’ conditions, and even so, not in a manner to besmirch people’s character, nor negatively sway public opinion against any person or group.”

The Ministry of Health said that in 2009, the minority opposition Alliance for Change (AFC) had sought details on the health status of the then leader of the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Robert Corbin on the basis that “a substantial amount of taxpayers’ dollars has been spent, and that there must be a balance between that and accountability”.

But the ministry said that the party was “met with silence concerning the nature of Mr. Corbin’s health issues and the sum of the expense incurred.

“In this vein, the Ministry of Health highlights that it is not ‘decent’ to expose these sensitive issues, as they can redound to both medical and impecunious embarrassment.

“However, some media operatives went this route, clearly targeting a select few from the ruling party, and in so doing have engendered unease among the family members and other concerned relatives and friends.”

The government said it was condemning “the behaviour of those responsible for the report, and deems their actions as ‘vendetta for no known reason.

“The Health Ministry also sees the reportage as intentionally skewed – with portions being mischievously selected – incomplete, and with ulterior and sinister motives.

“Also, it should be emphasised that the Ministry of Health embraces and practises a policy, to render assistance indiscriminately and in a holistic manner, depending upon the nature of the medical condition and the financial needs of those seeking to obtain same,” the statement said.

Guyana is preparing for a general election on May 11 with the ruling PPP/C facing a challenge from an opposition coalition including the PNCR and the AFC.

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