Contact: John Emmanuel
Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - Health officials have been responding to what they
say are unsubstantiated claims emanating from the print media, that
representatives of the Bill Clinton Foundation last week cut short a crucial two
day meeting aimed at further observing St. Lucia’s activities in relation to
According to Acting Director of the National HIV/AIDS Programme Nahum Jn.
Baptiste, the two-day visit by the two-member delegation from the Bill Clinton
Foundation took place as was reported, however he says reports of the visit
being aborted were exaggerated.
In his words previous communication between the delegation and local health
officials made it clear that a member of the delegation would have to leave for
St. Vincent to conduct talks with officials there. The other delegation member
Jn Baptiste says stayed on and held talks with several health personnel on
activities initiated since the Foundation’s last visit in April of this year.
Health officials have also responded to claims made in the press that crucial
agencies like the AIDS Action Foundation engaged in the fight against HIVAIDS
were side stepped and left out in the process. “This visit was initiated by the
Clinton Foundation and they, not us, requested who they would need at those
meetings. Again this was not quite accurate,” said Jn. Baptiste.
Jn. Baptiste says health officials are also taking umbrage to claims made over
alleged problem with the HIV/AIDS national plan. “The reporter mentioned that
the plans were due at the end of this month and when Foundation members arrived
they was not yes, or national plan has been delayed a bit however we are not
using the national plan to implement the Foundation activities. What we have
been doing is ensuring that the objectives in our national plan, which is now
being developed, is consistent with that of the Clinton Foundation,” he said.
Health officials will make a presentation of the Foundation’s business plans to
the Cabinet of Ministers, as part of the requirements before the release of the
funds sometime this summer.