~ Says Australian appointment should not happen ~
PHILIPSBURG–Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel said it is his opinion that the board of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) outright lied to Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley when it stated that “the Australian national it brought in to run SMMC was here on evaluation only.”
Emmanuel said in a press statement that “the board knew full well what its intentions were until the plan got exposed.”
Emmanuel highlighted last week that the board was going to appoint Grant Muddle, an Australian, as Director of SMMC. He also disclosed Muddle’s questionable history at his previous hospital tenure in Papua, New Guinea, and called for post-haste reversal of the decision to appoint him. Emmanuel also called for dismissal of the entire board, who, he said, “feel like kings in their own castle.”
“So here comes the board back-peddling lying. A total lack of acceptable corporate practices by making a ‘candidate’ (their words) privy to hospital information he should not be privy to as just a candidate,” he said.
According to Emmanuel, by the time Muddle’s pending appointment became public, he reportedly had already met with the general contractors of the hospital and provided updates on the progress of the project. According to media reports, he continued, Muddle was also asked to leave a meeting with the board and Windward Islands Healthcare Union Association (WIHCUA).
“He was in a meeting where the union was fighting for the workers to get a 10 per cent increase in salary rather than 5 per cent the board is proposing. That’s how much they value the workers and the board wanted Muddle to understand that,” Emmanuel said.
“He was present and involved from the start because, had his appointment not been made public, they would have gone ahead as normal, like nothing happened. So, the board lied to the minister. The minister now should tell them to tell the gentleman ‘thanks, but he can stay in Australia.’ And if he is here, send him back with a friendly ‘thank you’. This foolishness of appointing non-nationals above locals must stop,” Emmanuel stressed.
“When and where was this vacancy advertised? And for how long was it advertised? How is it that nobody in St. Maarten knew about this vacancy? What are we doing in this country by continuously relegating our people as onlookers while others get the opportunities at top positions? This is not right and stifles any form of nation building and is insulting to the people of St. Maarten, not to mention insulting their intelligence.”
He added that the minister must ensure that the other candidate mentioned by SMMC is from St. Maarten. “We have enough qualified people here, offer it to them.”
Emmanuel urged Ottley not to be naïve when faced with the likes of Jim Rosen and Robert Jan James of SMMC. “Remember, ‘only we can save we’, and your strong stance for St. Maarten people. Send a message and tell them to send the gentleman home,” Emmanuel said.
He said that, according to the media in Papua, some of the allegations against Muddle there include misappropriation of hospital funds (failure to reimburse the hospital for funds paid to him as advance salary), breach of public service laws in that country, mismanagement and unilaterally putting a stop to all training programmes funded by the hospital, when training and further education are important components in upgrading staff.
Muddle was eventually side-lined until a replacement could be found, according to the media.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/emmanuel-smmc-board-lied-to-ottley