AG to mediate between Minister and Board
A mediator has been appointed by Cabinet to intervene in the discord between Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, and the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) regarding the reinstatement of Michael Khan as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The appointed mediator is Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams.
The Minister and the Board have not been unified in their views regarding the reinstatement of Khan. Khan was sent on administrative leave last year to facilitate a forensic audit of the institution.
The audit was conducted by Junior Finance Minister, Jaipaul Sharma, who recently released a report of his findings.
The findings of the audit, based on the view of the Board, had cleared Khan of allegations of wrongdoing. But this publication was reliably informed that the Board had voted on whether Khan should return, but the members were divided.
A member of the Board had told this publication that because a unanimous decision was not arrived at to have Khan reinstated, a decision was made to write to Minister Norton to intervene.
The member had revealed that “We have a consensus to let the Minister know the findings of the audit. We have written to the Minister and we are awaiting his response in terms of guidance on the way forward”. The Board member disclosed too that “some folks are optimistic that Khan will return, some are not, and some are just not saying anything…It is kind of ‘ticklish’.”
Minister Norton had confirmed that being the Minister responsible for the Corporation, he was asked to look into the state of affairs. It was for this reason, this publication understands, that the Minister decided to rescind a decision of the Board to reinstate Khan, even after seeking his intervention.
Minister Norton informed, too, that he had written to Khan asking him to stay off the job until a thoroughly evaluation of the audit report was done. But according to the Minister, “when one, even at a glance, evaluates the (audit) report, there is so much evidence (against Khan), enough for him to be deprived of further employment (at the GPHC).”
The Minister further disclosed that, at this point, “any decision that does not have his approval is in violation of the (GPHC’s) Order.”
At yesterday’s post Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said that “Cabinet received a report from the Honourable Minister of Public Health on the state of affairs at the Public Hospital Corporation, Georgetown.”
According to Harmon, “among the issues raised in the report were the relationships between the subject Minister and the Board of Directors of the Corporation.”
He noted that the decision of the Board of Directors to reinstate the CEO of the hospital has gained the attention of Cabinet. And Harmon noted yesterday that “Cabinet, having deliberated on the matter, appointed the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister (Basil Williams) as mediator to inquire in all the issues raised in the report.”
Williams is also tasked with making recommendations to Cabinet which will allow for a resolution within one week, Harmon said.
This publication also understands that currently Khan is abiding by the decision of the Board to remain on the job pending Cabinet’s resolution.
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