Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath is slamming Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh for being aware of the suppression of applications at the Children’s Life Fund and accused the Minister of not doing anything about it. Padarath who visited the Children’s Life Fund with the parents of Shannen Luke on the request of the Leader of the Opposition on Friday March 31st 2017, said that he discovered that a Data Entry Clerk 1 was placed to deal with the public at the Children’s life Fund since 2016 and was screening potential applicants before a form was administered to them. He indicated that several parents who he met at the Children’s Life Fund head office on that day at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, complained about having the same experience.
Padarath who raised the issue in the Parliament last week indicated that the application forms for the Children Life Fund was unavailable online and the sole means of applying to the fund was through hardcopy application forms. The Princes Town MP said that he brought this to the attention of the Health Minister during his discussions with him and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar at the Parliament and since then the situation has not been rectified.
MP Padarath stated that on the day he went to the Children’s Life fund with the parents of Shannen Luke, they arrived before him and attempted to get an application form and was again refused for the third time after being told that they do not fit the criteria. After the MP’s intervention upon his arrival, he indicated to the staff at the Children’s Life Fund that they were not responsible for determining whether the application would be successful or not and that they should not be screening and suppressing applications at the unit. It was only after Padarath’s intervention on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition did Shannen’s parents get an application form. The Children’s Life Fund accepted the application a few days later with the MP’s assistance and indicated that the application was successfully completed and had all the necessary supporting documents. Padarath stated that today he was surprised and alarmed that the Minister of Health was saying the opposite.
In reviewing the case the Leader of the Opposition wrote to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and requested his urgent assistance in having the application dealt with expeditiously, she sited that the Children’s Life Fund Act made provisions for exceptional circumstances and that Shannen’s case could be viewed as exceptional, seeing that if her condition is prolonged untreated it would result in death.
Padarath said that the family of Shannen found themselves in the situation of having to take loans and host fundraisers as an alternative to save Shannen’s life because the Children’s Life Fund provided the family with wrong information and denied them the opportunity on several occasions to put an application in the system. He reiterated that the only persons who can determine if the application is successful or not is the board of the CLF and questioned whether a legal opinion was sort by the Ministry of Health to interpret whether the provision of exceptional circumstances in the Children’s Life Fund Act could be exercised to address Shannen’s condition.
Padarath called on Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to again look into this matter and have it rectified. He cautioned the Minister not to make pronouncements that there were no application before the CLF without finding out if the CLF had denied applicants the process of applying and accessing the fund.