16 April, 2009

5th Summit of the Americas challenges

Photo: 5SOA Secretariat

One of the three major hospitals in Trinidad has closed its Accident & Emergency entrance to the public for the entire duration of The Summit. This is to facilitate “The spouses of the Heads of State attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas (who) are scheduled to board the water taxi ferry at San Fernando, near the hospital's entrance…” What is one to make of this, in light of the stated goals of article three of the draft declaration of the summit, “…to improve health, wellness…”?

Chaos at the designated accreditation office yesterday, as thousands of citizens who live, work or visit in a security controlled zone, visited the old fire station on Hart Street in Port of Spain for their passes. Hundreds were told to visit the Central Police Station for their passes. Many returned to the accreditation office, visibly upset that the police officers knew nothing at CPS, and instructed them to return to the AO. Scores (maybe much more) were denied passes, or simply told the passes were “in process, but not yet completed”. It was obvious that the system was inefficient and Secretariat staff were overwhelmed and unprepared. Some staff were even hostile to members of the public.

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