After over nine months of talks about the appointment of a Deputy Chief Executive Officer [DCEO], the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] has finally appointed someone to this position.
Set to commence work in this regard from today is Former Army Chief Brigadier George Lewis. Lewis, who was elevated to the status of Brigadier ahead of being sworn in October of last year, served for four months as Chief of Staff before handing over the reins of the Guyana Defence Force to Brigadier Patrick West.
When contacted for a comment about his appointment yesterday, Lewis had little to say. However, this publication was able to confirm that Lewis has agreed to serve in the position.
The position of DCEO was one created last year under the tenure of former GPHC Chairman, Dr. Carl ‘Max’ Hanoman.
Dr. Hanoman revealed last year that whoever was found suitable to fill the position would be, among other things, tasked with helping the substantive CEO with the management of the GPHC.
The position of DCEO was advertised in the daily newspapers and the deadline for applications was given as October 7, 2016.
According to the details of the position, suitable applicants should possess a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from a recognised institution plus eight years’ experience at a senior administrative level. However, applicants could instead have a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, Public Management or Business Administration from a recognised institution, plus 10 years working experience at a senior administrative level.
Additionally, all applicants were expected to have a sound knowledge of the health sector and hospital administration. Further, the advertisement had outlined that suitable applicants must possess excellent interpersonal skills that allow for effective communication.
Based on reports that reached this publication, the Dr. Hanoman-led Board, ahead of its dissolution towards the end of last year, had shortlisted and interviewed three candidates for the DCEO position. It was revealed that the names were submitted by way of letter to the then-Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, and Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, for their consideration.
But from all indications, with the dissolution of the Board, together with the transfer of Dr. Norton to the Ministry of Social Cohesion and Minister Volda Lawrence taking his place, the appointment was placed on hold.
However, when a new Board of the hospital was appointed in February of this year, this publication had asked of Minister Lawrence if the appointment of a DCEO would be a priority, her comment was, “The Board will be expected to carry out its full mandate as prescribed within the law. I expect that given the gamut of issues which presently exist at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, the Board will address these issues. I intend when I meet with them to outline several of those issues and ask that they fashion their agenda to address those issues, and if within those issues is the appointment of a Deputy CEO, then that is what I would expect the Board to do.”
But the decision to create the position was viewed as somewhat controversial, since in early 2016 an individual was reportedly hand-picked for the very position, although it was non-existent at the time. This publication had learnt that an individual, a Mr. Paul Clarke, had presented himself to senior officials at the public hospital informing them that he was sent by then-Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Mr. Trevor Thomas, to assume the position of Deputy CEO.
Clarke had reportedly invited the senior officials to a meeting. However, his presence was not endorsed by the hospital’s then Board of Directors.
Thomas, when contacted by this publication, had assured that he had nothing to do with the purported appointment. In fact, government had addressed the matter, insisting that it had no knowledge of such an appointment.
Several officials had condemned the purported appointment claiming that not only was there no such position in existence at the time, but even if one was to be created there must be transparency in the process.
A member of the Board had told this publication that “we are governed by rules and regulations…A position like [DCEO] if it exists, should be advertised and interviews done before an appointment could be made. The Government has said that it wants transparency and that is what we are working towards – transparency.”
Moreover, Clarke’s “tenure” at the hospital ended almost as quickly as it started.
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