Blame game

Dear Editor,

You might consider whether you want to publish my letter below.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Short

In today’s edition of the Solomon Star newspaper, the SI Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Overseas Referral Committee (ORC) have come out to clarify reports surrounding the delay in sending Late Linta Mabo to Australia for treatment.

In a joint statement issued yesterday the MHMS and NRH-ORC said reports blaming them for not making the necessary arrangements in time that had led to the death of the young girl, is not only unfair but misleading by implying that the ministry through the NRH did not do its job.

I have quoted just a couple of paragraphs in the joint statement I have referred to, but have to say how very distressing it must be for late Linta’s grieving parents to have to see what has been published as a rebuttal of allegations raised against the NRH ORC and, for that matter, the SFA.

As I was most closely involved in appealing for funding for the sick child to be referred offshore to a hospital in Sydney, and funding which the SFA agreed to pay, even going so far to ask for the bank details of the hospital to send a prompt remittance, plus sending an email to the NRH confirming the financial support through sponsorship. I find it simply hard to accept that the Australian visa application for the child was refused.

The FSA did not get any answer to the request for the Sydney hospital’s bank details, but in an email to me a consultant cardiologist at the hospital said he felt it best if payment from the donor could be sent to the Solomon Islands Foundation – a registered charity in Australia.

On getting that information I wrote back immediately to the cardiologist, on behalf of the SFA, for the SIF’s bank details to facilitate the SFA making a money transfer. I did not get a reply, just as was the case when I requested the Sydney hospital’s bank details.

The SFA in the Solomon Islands is well known for the role it plays in charity support for many causes, which it has done for years, it has a President, a full Executive Board, a physical address, telephone numbers and a facsimile number. In addition the SFA is claimed to be financially sound.

What am I leading up to? Well in a nutshell simply to raise the question why didn’t the people involved in the visa process application, presumably locally at the Australian High Commission finding it  seemingly so critical to having a confirmation letter from the donor in finalizing the visa application pick up the telephone and ask the SFA to send or hand deliver the support letter?

Australia has a reputation for a “fair go.” but to my way of thinking it was nothing but bureaucracy at its worst and no chance of a fair go given to young Linta.

Young Linta had the opportunity of a second chance of life through the generous support of the FSA and through the cardiologist in Sydney waiting to see her and provide most of his services free, but alas it very sadly did not come to be.

If anything good should materialize from the tragic affairs I have related then it is hoped those involved in visa handling for other sick patients at the NRH who might one day get someone or organization to sponsor their travel and stay in Australia for medical attention might be better considered with deeper understanding and empathy.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short