Duke calls for THA health secretary to resign – ‘No faith in Faith’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THA secretary for health, wellness and social protection Dr Faith BYisrael. –


Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader and THA electoral representative for Roxborough/Argyle Watson Duke is calling for the resignation of Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael.

Speaking during a PDP press conference on Monday at the party’s headquarters in Scarborough, Duke said he had concluded that “the people of Tobago have lost faith in Dr Faith’s management of the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA).

“We have seen a level of decadence, a level of betrayal of trust that has left persons in Tobago wondering if they can receive any health care in any of our island’s hospitals – Scarborough General Hospital and the Roxborough Hospital and the 19 health centres.”

Duke, a former deputy chief secretary, said he wanted to tell “our sister Dr Faith that Tobago has lost faith in your style of management.”

He had reached a conclusion that “based on an evaluation,” she should have been removed from her position and put elsewhere.

On May 13, via a press release, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine announced changes to the THA’s executive council, including him stepping down as secretary of finance, trade and the economy.

BYisrael kept her portfolio after reshuffle where the biggest change was former secretary of community development. youth development and sport, Terance Baynes, being demoted and made an assistant secretary in the division of infrastructure, quarries and urban development.

Joel Sampson, who deputised in infrastructure, now leads the division of community development. Former assistant secretary of tourism Megan Morrison is now assistant secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection with responsibility for social programmes.

Niall George takes over her position in tourism, while former assistant secretary in education Orlando Kerr takes up a similar post in the division of settlement.

Councillor Certica Williams-Orr is now the assistant secretary in finance.


“We are not satisfied with health, and maybe the chief secretary should really look at the portfolio of Dr Faith, and if she is the best, we understand that you are limited. We want the best person to be in charge of our healthcare.”

Duke recalled that in 2022, a baby died at the Scarborough General Hospital. A year later, the same mother lost another baby at the same hospital.

He said in July 2023, a 66-year-old female patient went to the hospital for a routine examination and care. He said she entered through casualty and after getting an injection, she had a seizure. After 20 minutes trying to revive her, she died.

Earlier this year, he said, a mother took her daughter to the Scarborough General Hospital for a check-up after she had a seizure. He said from the mother’s account, the child was given the wrong drug, which led to her “almost dying.”

PDP leader and former deputy chief secretary Watson Duke. – AYANNA KINSALE

He also mentioned the incident in mid-May in which a Speyside mother, Nadea Shanghie, and her newborn died a day apart. A lot of the deaths at the hospital, he said, were the result of poor management systems.

A press release on Monday from the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection said an investigation into the deaths of Shanghie of Speyside, and her newborn baby, had determined doctors and staff at the Scarborough General Hospital did everything they could to save their lives. The release said preliminary investigations into the deaths had been concluded. The release said: “The doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff involved categorically and undeniably did everything possible to save Nadea’s life. The staff of the TRHA observed all the appropriate clinical pathways in providing emergency care.”


It said as part of the quality-management system at the TRHA after an incident of this nature, a meeting was held with Shanghie’s family, together with her private doctor, outlining that officials did all they could for her and her baby, Zeniah.

Shanghie, 27, worked for the TRHA as a clerical assistant at the Speyside Health Centre.

The TRHA also issued an urgent call for all pregnant and expectant mothers to prioritise and seek antenatal care without delay. In the press release on Monday, it said antenatal care played a critical role in ensuring the health and well-being of both mothers and unborn children.

“Regular antenatal visits allow healthcare providers to monitor the progress of the pregnancy, facilitate early identification of potential complications, and to provide the necessary support and guidance to expectant mothers.”

It said unfortunately data showed an increasing number of pregnant women were either delaying or foregoing antenatal care altogether, for a number of reasons.

The release warned, “The consequence of inadequate antenatal care can be severe and long-lasting, which can lead to increased risks of maternal and infant mortality, pre-term birth, low birth weight and other adverse outcomes.”

When contacted for comment on Duke’s call for her to resign, Dr BYisrael sent Newsday Tobago a copy of her division’s press release on the Shanghie incident. She did not offer any comment on Duke’s call. Augustine could not be reached for a comment on Duke’s call.