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Minister defends perceived conflict

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HIV Testing (2)Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said the surgical procedures he performed as a sitting cabinet minister is because he’s only one of a few doctors who specialties in the field.


Dr. Sands’ comments are in response to criticism from Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts.


Mr. Roberts said that Sands in his capacity as minister of health is in direct violation of cabinet code of ethics and procedures as sitting ministers are to avoid situations in which private interest, whether pecuniary or otherwise, conflicts or might reasonably be thought to conflict with public duties.


In an interview with The Bahama Journal Dr Sands said he publicly announced that he would continue doing practicing medicine during his budget contribution several months back.


“Given the challenge with coverage and the unique service that I provide, I said that until such time as there was a replacement available in the country, I would continue to volunteer my services in an unpaid way for public patients,” Sands said.

Dr. Sands added that it’s not a matter of if he believes or trusts that another doctor can do the work, it just comes down to a matter of training.


“Medicine has developed to a level in the world where specialization improves outcomes. The individuals that routinely provide these services, Dr. Delton Farquharson, Dr. Paul Ramphall, Dr. Duane Sands; between those three doctors we probably do more than 95% of the dialysis access and vascular surgery in the country,” Sands said.


Sands added that there is a shortage of trained cardio vascular and vascular surgeons in the country.


He said that it’s not that other surgeons who specialize in other types of surgery can’t do the work, but they’re not specifically trained for it.


Mr. Roberts says according to the Manual of Cabinet procedure, a Minister must avoid situations in which his private interest, whether pecuniary or otherwise, conflicts or might reasonably be thought to conflict with his public duties.


He said , “ Dr. Sands’ behavior is a clear breach of public trust and is not representative of good governance, humility, personal sacrifice, responsibility, honesty or ethical conduct. He has compromised the integrity of his high office and this demands immediate accountability for his actions.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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