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posted 19 Nov 2018, 07:19 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 19 Nov 2018, 07:36 ]
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles must intervene and investigate
The National Workers Union is calling on the Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to intervene and investigate the operations of the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) to prevent the collapse of Health Care and Health Services in Tobago.

As the Union indicated in our last article, the current “Interim CEO” is regarded as someone who has placed a huge value on her integrity. She is expected to demit office on Monday 19th November 2018. It is our understanding that the Board of Directors, headed by Ingrid Melville requested for her to stay on but she has refused. Be reminded that her predecessor resigned with immediate effect after he refused to compromise his integrity.

The TRHA seems incapable of obtaining and retaining a CEO. It seems that anyone worthy and capable of being the CEO at TRHA, will not tolerate being manhandled by the Board to carry out their directives of nepotism and corruption and therefore will not be hired.

The organization spent thousands of dollars between 2015 to 2018 in an attempt to recruit a CEO. During that time at least one person was successful but was not given the nod by the Secretary of Health – Dr. Agatha Carrington. It was reported that that decision was the reason for the immediate resignation of the then Chairman of the TRHA Board – Mr. Oswald Williams. Mr. Williams also served the THA in the capacity of Secretary of Health and Social Services from 2005 to 2009.

Over the period 2015 (after the then Board terminated the services of Brent Murphy after only six (6) months in office), to 2018, the TRHA has rotated more than four (4) persons acting as CEO including Ingrid Melville who was at the time the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors. This speaks to a high level of incompetence at the level of the Board.

The Government claimed that there is a reduction in revenue in the country due to the drop in oil and gas prices. As a consequence there has been cuts in the allocations to the various Ministries and the THA. The THA is directly responsible for funding the TRHA. Who then is monitoring the wastage of the resources at the TRHA when the procurement, and recruitment processes are constantly being drained by the Board of Directors and the Secretary?

Is the Board, and by extension the Division of Health, aware of the procurement process and the process for engaging suppliers for
Board of Directors
goods and services? What then was the process to engage the services of Consultants within the TRHA?

· What process was used to engage the services of GLR and Associates for Human Resource Management (Recruitment & Selection) and how much were they paid for the period of their service?

· What process was used to engage the services of Dr. Carol David for Human Resource Management (HR Strategy) and how much was she paid for the period and her service?. Yes this is the same Carol David who is busting workers’ throats at TSTT.

· What process was used to engage the services of Ms. Adana Castellano Jones for Human Resource Management (Recruitment & Selection) and how much has she been paid thus far and how long will she be engaged with the organization?

Clearly a pattern is noted in those “Consultancies” listed above. There has been NO Transparency, NO Accountability, NO Value for Money and most important NO care for the Public that the TRHA is responsible for serving. The general public in Tobago has lost all trust and confidence in the Public Health Care System.

This is evident by the number of persons opting to seek healthcare services privately. The staff has lost confidence in the Board and the Secretary of Health. This is evidenced by the lack of motivation shown by staff. Who can blame them? Staff is owed Performance Pay dating back to 2015; there are little or no materials to effectively carry out their duties; there are severe staff shortages in critical areas, yet the recruitment consultancy has only been able to recruit sanitation and lower level staff.

It should be noted that the Human Resource Department of the TRHA, although severely short staffed (based on the number of employees in the TRHA vs. the number of HR staff) has the competency to carry out ALL the services that consultants past and present are engaged to do. In fact, the existing staff has greater confidence in their colleagues than they do in the Consultants.

Although we respect the Autonomy of the THA and the Tobago Public and the rights of every Tobagonian to self-determination, we feel obligated at this point, if the THA Chief Secretary lacks the will to reign in the Secretary of Health and the Board of Directors of the TRHA, to make a public call to the Ministry of Health and the Central Government and the Prime Minister to intervene to prevent a total collapse of the Health Care system and service on the island.