T&T: Govt owing $4m to Cancer Society—Laquis

By Camille Clarke
Chairman of the T&T Cancer Society George Laquis said Government has not contributed funds to the organisation for the past two years and was currently owing some $4 million.

Laquis was speaking at the launch of the National Education Campaign at Republic Bank’s head office in Port-of-Spain. The theme of the campaign is “I Care Because Cancer Doesn’t.”

The programme will be taken to the nation’s schools in the next six months.

Laquis said he the organisation could not give up because Government was owing money to the organisation.

He said during the past two years the government has failed to pay the $2 million per year to the organisation despite repeated requests.

“We had no money for two years and we did not cut back our services and we are going onto the third year (without payment),” he said.

Laquis said the society’s budget is $6 million a year which is raised by sponsors and other stakeholders.

He said the mobile units were expensive, medicine and the equipment.

Laquis also called for a cancer registry and a treatment centre which he believes was long in the making and the responsibility of Government.

He said the data collected from the registry of deaths was inaccurate and backdated to 2009.

“The data is wrong and inadequate and only way we can collect data is to make it a reportable disease,” he said.

He said the names and identity of patients did not need to be given but just the information on treatment and if it worked.

Laquis said cancer was the second leading cause of death and through a change in lifestyles it could be prevented.

“Focus on the youths, educate them, change your lifestyle, change what you can and get it early,” he said.

He said the organisation’s home at Rosalino Street was in “tremendous” need of repair and they would hopefully be owners to a property along the Foreshore, Mucurapo.

However, Laquis said they were hoping to raise $30 to $40 million to build on the property if approved by Cabinet.

Contacted for a response, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said he was unaware of the problem.

“I would have to check with Permanent Secretary, ministers don’t handle money. I would advise him (Laquis) to contact the Permanent Secretary who is the chief accounting officer,” Deyalsingh said. (Trinidad Guardian)

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