PHILIPSBURG:---Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel said that it is his opinion that the board of SMMC outright lied to the Minister of VSA Omar Ottley when it stated that the Australian national it brought in to run SMMC was here on an evaluation only. “The board knew full well what its intentions were until the plan got exposed,” the MP said.
MP Emmanuel highlighted last week that the board was going to appoint Grant Muddle, an Australian, as Director of the St. Maarten Medical Center. The MP also disclosed Muddle’s questionable history at his previous hospital tenure in Papua New Guinea and called for the reversal of the decision to appoint him post-haste. The MP also called for the dismissal of the entire board who feel like kings in their own castle. “So here comes the board back-peddling a lying. A total lack of acceptable corporate practices by making a “candidate” (their words) privy to hospital information he should not be privy to as “just a candidate,” the MP said.
He explained that by the time Muddle’s pending appointment became public, he had reportedly already met with the general contractors of the hospital INSO and provided updates on the progress of the project. According to media reports, the MP continued, Muddle was also asked to leave a meeting with the board and The Windward Islands Healthcare Union (WIHCUA). “He was in a meeting where the union was fighting for the workers to get a 10% increase in salary rather than 5% the board is proposing. That’s how much they value the workers and the board wanted Muddle to understand that,” the MP said.
“He was present and involved from the start because had his appointment not been made public, they would have gone ahead as normal like nothing happened. So the board lied to the Minister. The Minister now should tell them, to tell the gentleman thanks, but he can stay in Australia. And if he is here, and him send back with a friendly thank you. This foolishness of appointing non-nationals above locals must stop,” the MP stressed.
“When and where was this vacancy advertised? And for how long was it advertised? How is it that nobody on St. Maarten knew about this vacancy? What are we doing in this country by continuously relegating our people as onlookers while others get the opportunities at top positions? This is not right and stifles any form of nation-building and is insulting to the people of St. Maarten, not to mention insulting their intelligence,” the MP said, adding that the Minister must ensure that the other candidate mentioned by SMMC is from St. Maarten. “We have enough qualified people here, offer it to them.”
The MP urged Ottley not too naïve when faced with the likes of Jim Rosen and Robert Jan James of the SMMC. “Remember Only We Can Save We and your strong stance for St. Maarten people. Send a message and tell them to send the gentleman home,” the MP said.
According to the media in Papua New Guinea, some of the allegations labeled against Muddle there include misappropriation of hospital funds (failure to reimburse the hospital with funds which were paid to him as advance salary), breach of public service laws in that country, mismanagement and unilaterally putting a stop to all training programs funded by the hospital, when training and further education is an important component in upgrading staff. He was eventually sidelined until a replacement could be found according to the media.