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Guards were just doing their job
Security guards who blocked participants of a candlelight vigil from entering the compound of San Fernando General Hospital on Tuesday, resulting in a noisy stand-off, were just doing their job. Defending his security guards, head of Innovative Security, Pete Carrington who was at the scene, said: “You cannot blame the security, the security is required to provide security for SWRHA (South West Regional Health Authority) and they require not to allow persons on the compound after visiting hours.”
The candlelight vigil, organised by talk show host Andy Williams, was in remembrance of 29-year-old Chrystal Boodoo-Ramsoomair who died on March 4 at the hospital after undergoing a Caesarian section.
Participants, however, were stopped from entering the compound shortly after 6 pm as security guards used their bodies, steel barricades, boulders and rope to block the entrances on Chancery Lane.
Yesterday, Medical Chief of Staff Dr Anand Chatoorgoon said permission must be sought, once it was after visiting hours, for people to enter the compound. The scenario began when the guards formed a human barricade to prevent participants, including children, from entering the side entrance.
The main gate was closed and secured with boulders.
Unfazed by this, the participants demanded that they be allowed in saying it was a public place. A woman, who identified herself as, Ms Alleyne, said security needed to get permission from SWRHA to allow photographers on the compound. But the participants interrupted her as they resumed singing hymns and praying. Security reinforcements were soon called in and a steel barrier and rope were used to lock out the participants. Neither vehicles nor members of the public could have entered the compound. Williams, who arrived during the commotion, said the vigil was not supposed to have been held on the compound.
“That is a hospital and we respect the fact that it cannot be held on the compound,” he said. “We will line the candles up on the fence... It is suppose to be peaceful, not to have any confrontation with anyone.” Williams said he intended to hold vigils at all public hospitals because the people of T&T must stand up against poor healthcare and service to ensure that what happened to Boodoo-Ramsoomair did not happen to anyone else. He said Boodoo-Ramsoomair’s relatives were invited. Calls and a text message to SWRHA’s chairman Dr Lackram Bodoe’s cellphone went unanswered yesterday.
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