Monday 22 April, 2019

Children's Life Fund Authority under judicial review

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is slamming Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh over what she says is government's mismanagement of the health sector and the Children's Life Fund. 

Persad-Bissessar was successful on Thursday in her application seeking permission to apply for judicial review against the Children’s Life Fund Authority.

She made the comments at the United National Congress (UNC) Monday night forum at the Bamboo Grove Presbyterian School on July 10, 2017, calling Government’s treatment of sick children as “callous and uncaring”.

She said that she intends to raise the matter when she meets with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. 

"Since we went out of office we have seen a wicked Government with no care for the children of our country. Absolutely no care when it comes to education, when it comes to their healthcare, when it comes to just basic food – a wicked Government that will not put children first."

She said she has filed proceedings against the Children’s Life Fund Authority in the cases of Shannen Luke and Terrance Chandoo who were denied funding for medical treatment.

Mrs. Persad Bissessar, who established the Fund in 2010, led the legal team representing Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge in his challenge of the decisions of the Children’s Life Fund Authority rejecting the applications made by the parents of Shannen Luke and Terrence Chandoo.

"A few months ago you heard the story of baby Shannen Luke. She needed treatment that would cost $1.5 million. That baby suffers from an illness that requires her to have a blood transfusion every month. If she doesn’t get that blood, do you know what will happen to her? She will die. Three-year-old baby. Those parents applied to the Children’s Life Fund and these wicked Government rejected their application," she said.

Persad-Bissessar said that she sent a letter to the Minister of Health to help sick children.

"I personally gave a letter to the Minister of Health – I handed it to him in Parliament and asked him to help these children. Today I lay that blame squarely on the shoulders of Terrance Deyalsingh, Minister of Health and the wicked Government led by Keith Rowley," she said.

"I announce today that I have filed an action against the Children’s Life Fund Authority on behalf of these two children who need lifesaving treatment. Have a heart Minister of Health."

"They (CLFA) claimed they do not have the power in Law give reimbursements and that the disease was not life-threatening. On the first – that is a lie. I drafted that Law along with Anand Ramlogan and CPC, and in that Law there is a clause which deals with reimbursements," she said.

She said additionally, if her case is successful and they are awarded any costs, that the money will be placed into an account to pay for medical expenses for those children.

"I want to ask you - do not ever lose hope. We need every one of you to join hands, we need to march, we need to mobilize, we need to campaign. Because we have to run this Rowley Government legally - out of office," she said. 

The application for permission to apply for judicial review was heard Thursday afternoon at the Port-of-Spain, High Court before the Honourable Madam Justice Kangaloo. The Children’s Life Fund Authority was represented by Senior Counsel Reginald Armour SC.

The Court granted permission to apply for judicial review and further ordered that the matter be deemed fit for vacation hearing having regard to the public importance of this matter and fact that this was an application that affected the lives of two children.

The matter was adjourned to the 21st August 2017.

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