23 Jun POLITICAL VICTIMIZATION OF WORKERS AT NORTH EAST REGIONAL HEALTH AUTHORITY
Kingston, Jamaica, June 20, 2017: The widespread practice of political victimization of workers in the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) has been brought to the attention of the Opposition Peoples National Party (PNP). This is evident from the action of Board of the Health Authority as it continues to operate as an “Executive Board”, constantly interfering in the day-to-day operations of the entities in the region with wanton disregard for good governance. It is also our understanding that the chairman, Tyrone Robinson, carries out his role as an “Executive Chairman”, giving operational instructions rather than providing policy oversight and guidance.
The specific issue at hand is the action of the board on the recommendation of its human resource subcommittee not to renew the contracts of workers throughout the Authority who are suspected to be supporters of the PNP.
Information reaching the Party suggests that many of the workers of NERHA who are on one year contracts, renewable annually, and have been working at these entities in the region for several years, have not had their contracts renewed, in spite of their positive Performance Evaluation Reviews (PER).
The Tyrone Robinson-led board no longer subscribes to the human resource principle of performance evaluation of workersas the basis for continuance or promotion, but instead by alleged political affiliation. Persons in the know say, workers’ contracts are routinely flagged for action by the ‘powerful’ HR subcommittee, chaired by a former JLP candidate from the last general elections.
The situation is crippling the operations of the Authority as workers fear for their jobs. If it is suspected that a worker is a supporter of the PNP, instructions are given to the ‘operatives’ not to renew the contract of such a worker. The positionis then filled immediately by candidates from a list provided by JLP activists on the board, particularly those populating the HR subcommittee. This situation is a breach of acceptable human resources and industrial practices and will not be allowed to continue.
It is the view of the Opposition that the NERHA has very competent and committed management, medical and technical staff to adequately preside over the affairs of the region.
However, based on the current situation, thecurrent board of NERHA is way out of its depth and cannot adequately and impartially carry out the mandate of the Health Authority Act, which gives legislative powers to the board.
The Opposition is, therefore, calling on the Minister of Health to urgently acquaint himself with the missteps and mismanagement of the board and to correct this very egregious overreach with immediate effect.
We are also strongly recommending that the Minister of Health makes immediate arrangements to appoint a NERHA Board that is cognizant of its role and is capable of serving the people of Portland, St Mary and St Ann with impartiality and without regard for race, creed or political persuasion.
The current board has made it obvious that they are not up to the task and should be relieved of their role with immediate effect.