In an interview with the media on Friday, Hon. Godwin Hulse made comment on the Western Regional Hospital’s rat dilemma and the fact that the story of the rat in the baby’s incubator made international news. The minister in essence said that the story was given too much attention by the local media which resulted in it making international news. Here is how he put it.
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration: I was a little disturbed at the massive coverage that the rat in the incubator had because really man, rats are everywhere and bats are everywhere. Yes they should have not been there. They should have never been in the incubator, it’s very unfortunate thank God nothing happened to the child but that we covered it to the extent that it got all this international coverage doesn’t speak well of or country. I think sometimes we have to be sensitive of how we cover things. The nurses, we can’t put that on everybody’s shoulder. Rats are creative little creatures. I think they have been around from the dinosaur days like cockroaches. You can’t get rid of them and houseflies, don’t care what you
do, you can only do your best. It’s unfortunate but I don’t know that it deserves such a significant media coverage as to have it now internationalized to the point where I see it in British news and some of the other European news. I think that is unfortunate. Latin American news as well. That is unfortaunte. It focuses the country as, oh, we’re careless, we’re worse less, nasty, which is not the truth and we have not herald he great work that a lot of these nurses and doctors do in these hospitals and the amount of lives they save, especially in some serious accidents. I personally have had the experience of those doctors and nurses who have went beyond the call of duty to help and save the lives of some of my family members when they’ve been there. We have to herald that as well, we don’t want to downplay it with a rat that we happened to find in an incubator, and while that is very unfortunate and should not have happened, really I think we need to look at it from a little different angle. The hospital and the management are doing everything they can to prevent that in the future.
Citizens organized for Liberty through Action were not happy with the Minister’s comments and fired off a hotly worded press release saying that the minister’s comments
“…. suggests that media needs to be sensitive on how they cover certain incidents. This is an unwarranted attack on the right of the free press to remain free and to be relevant and thorough in our coverage of all happenings in our country. This should not be tolerated by any member of the free press as that will lead to unwanted and unnecessary censorship.”
The press release further states,
“Hulse said the image presented to the international audience is that Belize is a careless, dirty and nasty country and that is not the truth. Well guess what, Minister? The truth is, our leaders are careless, our representatives are worthless, and the way we do things here and then cover them up is nasty. Have you forgotten Elvin Penner? We haven’t!”
The release ends by saying that COLA demands and expects more and better for the country’s health services, regardless of what anyone here or abroad thinks. It also makes a demand for the Minister to retract his comments.