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posted 2 Jan 2019, 07:13 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 2 Jan 2019, 07:43 ]
“Leaders instil in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.”

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Theodore M. Hesburgh

Image result for trhaThe Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) has been totally absent of true leadership for approximately the past eight (8) years. That equates to approximately four (4) to five (5) Boards.

One can safely say the last respectable board, the board that showed true leadership of the TRHA, was the board headed by Keith Charles (2009 – 2011). That was possibly the last board that knew what their objectives and responsibilities were to the organization, the population and most importantly to health care on the island of Tobago.

The boards that followed leave much to be desired and have sent the organization on a downward spiral. Resignations has become a norm over the years; beginning with Camille Mohammed – Director Medicine (2011-2013), Trevor Craig – Chairman (2014-2016), Maria Dillon Remy – Medicine (2014-2016), Oswald Williams – Chairman (2016-2018) and most recently, Stanford Callender - Public Interest, and Welfare (2018-2020).

Additionally, and possible worst of all, after the Orville London-led Tobago House of Assembly (THA) administration fought and won the “behind the scenes” battle of not having to discuss and collaborate on the persons chosen to be appointed to the board with the opposition, the appointment of misfits, square pegs, political and professional “wanabees” and geriatric dreamers, became the norm.

No need to name then as we know exactly who holds which portfolio. It is glaring - the lack of solid, forward thinking individuals who have what is necessary to lead the organization and thus health care, to where it needs to be.

The TRHA is plagued with Leadership issues stemming directly from the top and at its current rate, things are only going to get worse. “Ole people say fish does rotten from deh head.”

Fast forward to the present time 2018 with this current board led by Ingrid Melville. What can be said about this leader? Ingrid Melville began her TRHA experience on the Trevor Craig-led board of 2014-2016. Be reminded that that was the board that paid themselves increases in allowances which were not approved.

As the legal person sitting among her peers, what was her contribution to this illegal and unauthorized payment? Did she refuse to accept the payment knowing that it was legally not authorized? One would want to challenge this argument because the decision was later cleared by the Integrity Commission. However, we as citizens have all questioned the Integrity of the said Integrity Commission.

Needless to say, the integrity of that board was tarnished, and its members will never be looked at the same again. It is alleged that t
he Director that resigned from that board, asked about paying back the monies she received. It seems her integrity was affected by the misdeed.

Ingrid Melville was also on the Oswald Williams-led board as the Deputy Chairman/ Director Law and became the acting Chairman after his hasty resignation. She is the “Legal” representative on the board who always must seek legal advice on the most basic of issues. The advice she seeks always costs the organization an arm and a leg, as it seems she does not have legal associates that she can simply use to soundboard issues with, hypothetically, to save the organization cost. This is all part of the “It’s our time now to eat ah food” mentality. As if her blunders thus far were not enough, Ingrid Melville was appointed as the Acting CEO in October 2017. 

There has been much debate on the legality of such a decision and appointment. What we can say at this time, is that such a decision, regardless of the circumstances, represents poor corporate governance.What happens next must be of great interest.

The first order of the day by Ingrid Melville as acting Chairman/acting CEO was the recruitment of Ms. A. Potts to the office of the CEO. There were no dis
cussions with the recruitment manager, no discussion with the HR manager, no advertisements, no procurement. Nothing! Ms. A. Potts showed up one day within the first we
ek of her being the acting CEO and she is there to the time of this article being penned. We are told that at one point, she was not shortlisted for a position that she applied for but the person doing the shortlisting was instructed to include Ms. A. Potts to be interviewed. She was not successful.

In a previous article we highlighted other persons that are working at the TRHA but who did not undergo the organization’s normal recruitment processes. Can it be that Ingrid Melville is arranging a GHOST Gang within the TRHA?

Several persons within the HR and Finance departments of the organization were recently demoted. Some, after more than six (6) years of acting in vacant positions. No discussion was held with these individuals. No period of adjustment after such an extended period of acting. Just letters telling them that they are to revert. Who right thinking leader decides such a heinous act?

In an organization of close to 2000 employees, there are a little over 400 permanent employees. Persons have been working with the organization from 2010 and in some instances even before then and are still on contract in known vacant positions. Be reminded that Ingrid Melville has been with the TRHA since 2014. In all that time sitting at the helm, couldn’t she be instrumental in making a decision that would afford employees job security and thereby increase employee morale.

with women in mind
is this the puppet master?
It is believed that Ingrid is the puppet being pulled by the puppet master – “Gyartha”. Who then really guarding the guards?

What can the populace in Tobago expect in health care? It is widely discussed among staff throughout the hospital, as it is glaring what is now the norm in the organization. Underneath and underhand operations, nepotism, corruption, no accountability, no transparency and a general demotivated and dejected bunch of persons in an organization that once boasted of being the premier employer on the island. Where are the slogans “people caring for people” now? Is the staff not considered “people” as well?

The stop gap measure of appointing Ashworth Learmont to act as CEO was quite frankly the smartest decision with Ingrid in the picture. That was short-lived because as we pointed out previously, he is a man of integrity. So, the rotating door continued to Gillian Pollidore. A three month stint makes no sense in organizational management and achieving strategic objectives.

Mrs. Michelle Edwards Benjamin was appointed. The entire nursing fraternity are rooting for her and hoping that her integrity withstands the test of the office. We believe that though such a promotion would look good on her CV, one look at the organization and all her efforts could be washed away with the remaining dirty water.

Now we shudder to think that according to information received, Ingrid Melville applied, was interviewed and is the successful candidate for the position of CEO at the TRHA. Allow that to sink in. Ingrid Melville is the successful candidate for the position of CEO at the TRHA.

1. What didn’t collapse before in the TRHA can be expected to collapse now.

2. Expect persons to be popping up to complete the Ghost gang.

3. Family and friend will get their promised appointments.

4. Staff morale will sink even lower that it is at present.

After two consecutive terms and currently on her third term (of two years each) at the pinnacle of Leadership, Ingrid Melville proved herself incompetent to foster change and improvement at the TRHA. What folly to think that she will be able to do so as the CEO of the organization!

Our advice to Ingrid Melville is simple: “A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.”
Jim Rohn

Not everyone in the organization is against the red and ready posse. For some it’s their job and they love what they do regardless. Not everyone in the organization know who you are (even after five years), and it really shouldn’t be forced on them. They however, expect to be paid on time and that includes all gratuities and allowances etc.

You are not seen as a fair and transparent individual. Revisit your conscience. Sometimes who you think is an enemy might just be your greatest ally. Tobago we are sorry...!

Demoralized Health Care Workers