Leonard wants to know what Minister did to Inspectorate for releasing information to SMN News.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers fired a number of questions to Minister of VSA Emil Lee on Friday morning during a meeting of parliament.
MP Meyers said since last year February 2016 he requested information from the Minister and again earlier in February 2017 he resubmitted those questions but only few days ago after the meeting was requested by the UPP members that he received some of the answers from the Minister. Meyers asked if the computers in Parliament are bugged, because the letter sent to the request to the chair of parliament on February 27th while his letter dated February 24th.
As for the agreement signed by VAMED and SZV MP Meyers asked for clarity on the agreement since it is not clear as to whether or not an agreement was signed. He further asked if SZV had the necessary contracts and legislations in place before SZV paid out monies to consultants. He asked if SZV had a contract to invest in the government building, and for the agreement signed between SZV and SMMC.
MP Meyers went on to ask if INSO has a local representative on St. Maarten and who is that person and or company?
MP Meyers fired questions about the audit the Minister of Health called for on February 8th and why that audit is now delayed. He asked who will be paying for the audit “baseline” study that the Minister requested to audit the entire health care chain, including SMMC. He asked what sparked that audit, and he also asked if health care institutions have the right to object to audits.
MP Meyers went on to ask about a number of specialists that are leaving SMMC and the workload placed on the nursing staff. He went on to ask if nursing staff was demoted from RN to LPN and if they are now receiving a lower salary. He asked the Minister to provide him information in writing regarding the radiologist that are currently working at SMMC.
MP Meyers went on to ask the Minister to inform with the names of the resorts where the water was tested and possible E-coli was found. He wants to know which resorts were tested positive, and who are the owners of these resorts?
MP Claret Connor also posed questions on the working conditions at SMMC, VAMED and SZV agreement and mostly about the working conditions at SMMC and the effects it is having on the staff.
While MP Tamara Leonard questioned the Minister about the LOB requests that the Inspectorate responded to regarding two cases of calamities, one of which claimed the life of a veteran journalist on St. Maarten. She asked the Minister if he took actions or measures against the Inspectorate for releasing information, and if there are pending court cases. Somehow MP Tamara Leonard failed to request the law the Inspectorate has on releasing information. She went on to say that the Minister promised SMMC that he would have conducted an independent audit and in the end the audit targeted SMMC. She claimed the staff of SMMC fear that they are being targeted. MP Leonard went on to ask why did the Minister went back on his word and then ordered audit at certain departments within the health care chain. She asked the Minister to further explain to her what transpired. She asked why does SMMC has to be audited while he knows that the institution lacks staff and proper equipment, nowhere did MP Tamara Leonard asked about the working conditions at SMMC and why specialists are leaving. She did not even ask about the the amount of incidents at SMMC that even claimed lives, or left people handicapped, and how many claims were filed against SMMC. The way the MP framed her questions it is clear that someone gave her partial information and the MP did not take the time to do the necessary research or either she is not interested in quality health care the people of St. Maarten gets even though they are the ones that put her in office to look out for their best interest.. It is indeed amazing to know that an MP who had to deal with severe health related issues that she obtained treatment for overseas, did not see it fit to pose questions that would guarantee the quality of care for the people of St. Maarten. MP Leonard also reminded the Minister of what he said on the campaign trail about renovating the current hospital which is contrary to what the UPP campaigned on for a new hospital, she asked the Minister to explain to parliament why he changed his mind on the renovations, and chose to go along with UPP with a new hospital.
MP Frans Richardson supported the audit, he said no one should be afraid of an audit because the quality of care must be guaranteed. MP Richardson further stated that he would have preferred the appeal filed by SZV had continued because in his opinion he felt that the judge overstepped his boundaries when he rendered his verdict when VAMED filed its court case against SZV.
Other speakers such as MP Perry Kerlings, and MP Hyacinth Richardson and Rudolph Samuel condemned VAMED for challenging St. Maarten because they did not get the bid. He said the company does not care about health care or about St. Maarten. He said he hoped that there is no MP backing the company that took St. Maarten to court because the country is getting a hospital too cheap. He said those that are backing the company also do not care about St. Maarten and its people and health care.
Before the MP’s got the opportunity to pose their questions Minister Emil Lee addressed Parliament, he explained that the reasons SZV and his Ministry agreed to a settlement with VAMED. Minister Lee said that the final process of the agreement is not fully completed and in the agreement VAMED made clear that the amount of monies they are settling for has to remain confidential.
Minister Lee said that if SZV had continued with the court cases the construction of the new hospital would have been delayed for years. He said that he looked for a win-win situation because either company could have taken government to court in the event one or the other won.
Minister Lee said if he had done over the bidding process and VAMED had won then INSO could have sued government since they already won the bid. Besides the wait time, Minister Lee said monies would have been spent on court cases.
In responding to the questions, Minister Lee said that he had no problem making the agreement public. He said that what he understands is the agreement was signed by both parties, namely VAMED and SZV he said that the agreement was drafted by lawyers and the agreement has to complete such as ensuring that parties pull back all court cases.
Minister Lee said that any party that participated in the bidding could sue government and such he believed entering into an agreement is in the interest of the country.