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Address By Prime Minister Hon. Stephenson King On the opening of the New National Mental Wellness Centre - November 11, 2009

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This ceremony which brings us here today represents a significant milestone in the development of mental health services on the island. This new facility which I will be receiving later; during this ceremony, on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia will provide new hope for the clients who will navigate through its doors.

Today we are breaking new ground with our decentralized approach to mental health care. This new direction is based on a best practice standard that includes reducing the dependence on institutionalized or custodial care and replacing it with rehabilitative and residential facilities.

This impressive New National Mental Wellness Centre will provide truly integrated, modern mental health care, including aged care, acute hospital care and community care. It will provide support to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness in acquiring the skills and abilities which will allow them to return to their communities and to be integrated with their family and friends.

I understand that this institution’s philosophy of care is that every person is entitled to be cared for in the least restrictive environment possible. So while this world class facility is designed to provide a safe and protective environment, clients are also encouraged to assume personal responsibility. Our staff will work closely with clients to determine what level of community and family support is required before they are integrated with the wider community.

Mr. Chairman, it has been said that every nation is judged by how it treats its least fortunate. The moral test of any government is how it uses its resources to take care of those who are in the dawn of life, the children, those who are in the twilight of their years, the aged and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.
Mr. Chairman my administration understands this and this is why we will spare no effort to bring relief to the marginalized and dispossessed.

Since assuming office government has pursued a number of initiatives aimed at achieving specific strategic imperatives, including increasing social welfare payments to the elderly; the construction of a brand new facility to house clients of the Malgretoute Home. We are about to open a new transit home; we have provided substantial subsidy of basic commodities and cooking gas. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Mr. Chairman this is a government with a social conscience and we will continue to pursue vigorously programmes with a direct positive effect on lives of persons in the various communities.

In the pursuit of our social agenda we have partnered with the corporate community and various non-governmental organizations and we thank them immensely for their support. But it will be remiss of me at this stage if I did not mention the various voluntary groups, and persons who have provided invaluable support to the Golden Hope Hospital over the years. I speak of:
The Friends of Golden Hope hospital, the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, the Jaycees, the late Professor Michael Beaubrun, the late Dr. Malcolm Rigsby, the late Dr. Raju, The late Urban Lesmond, The late Mederick Alexander, Mrs. Carmen Alexander, Sister Marlene Whitfield, Mr. Patrick Lammie, The late Romanus Lansiquot, Lady Janice Compton, Lady Marilyn Flossaic. If I inadvertently omitted any of our early pioneers then I apologize sincerely.

I wish also to pay special tribute to the staff of Golden Hope Hospital, both current and past, who over the years have had to endure working in extremely trying circumstances.

Mr. Chairman we also owe a debt of Gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan). May I say to you Ambassador Tom Chou, we rejoice in our relationship with your country. I hope you think that our partnership has been kept well during my Prime Ministership and I hope it will continue to be kept well for a long time to come. Please convey to your government and people our sincere thanks and appreciation for redesigning and funding the completion of this excellent facility.

Also may I place on record our appreciation and gratefulness to the management of Holdyear Construction Company for donating this wonderful auditorium.

I urge the management of this new facility to increase the institution’s flexibility and agility to improve client demand.


May this important health institution benefit the people of Saint Lucia.

I thank you.


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