Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2014 Contents A11
May 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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CEO Ameena Ali:
Upgrades to Grande hospital a success
Is this exclusive to the ERHA or does it apply
to all the RHAs?
I cannot talk for the other authorities, but I
almost feel certain...probably not, but I could tell
you at Eastern I found that so obscene. I stopped
it and I called the minister of health, who was very
furious: he could not believe one doctor was being
paid $5,000 a day. You pay a little more and you
would get a full-time doctor.
What did you do to resolve this issue satisfac-
What I am trying to do to stop it is to recruit
doctors; but remember, I do not recruit. I have to
depend on HR and therein lies the issue. Because
somebody goes to the chairman complaining that
I am interfering with their work...right?
So I have to step back and allow HR to do what
they are doing. Then, to my amazement, HR doesn t
know anything, or gets involved in these so-called
I cannot understand this sort of situation exist-
ing in any company, public or the private sector.
How come you as CEO do not have the final say
in what HR does or does not do?
Well, as you see---and what you know was the
result of that in December---I was fired.
And Dr Khan ordered that you be reinstated?
Dr Khan did not order...he invoked the relevant
section of the act and he has the final say in the
employment of the CEO. I was doing something
either fundamentally good or fundamentally bad.
Which one do you believe?
(Momentarily staring at Raphael) I know I get
results, so I believe it was fundamentally good.
Another thing, Clevon, I found is that as a non-
executive board, it cannot deal with the operational
aspect of the authority, and what was happening,
apparently, because I am still not certain because
of the limited letters I received way down in March,
making reference to the chairman...The chairman
getting involved with general managers is one of
those peculiar things; because the line
of accounting is the board to the CEO,
the CEO to the board, and the general
managers to the CEO. So for the chair-
man to go to a board without the
Is it true then to say that when
you were fired one month after join-
ing the authority, you knew nothing
about this going on?
Yes. I was busy. I did not know...
When I was fired, I recall I was work-
ing at the Sangre Grande hospital on
a Saturday, when an anonymous caller
told me about a meeting concerning
firing me was taking place with the
board of directors and general man-
agers, you know?
I went to the meeting, but of course
I had to leave (laughs) because I was
So while I was busy working, you
have a board engaging management
to dismiss the CEO.
To dismiss the CEO in your
Precisely. Another occasion, I was
in Toco---which meant I had left home
at 5 am---when the board secretariat
called to tell me the chairman called
an emergency meeting for 2 pm that
day. I said I was in Toco, and I asked
what the agenda was, and she said
the chairman told her not to tell me,
but it was some kind of letter to dis-
A lot of strange things take place
with that board.
Ms Ali, what sort of relationship
do you enjoy with your
employees...do you think that they
Mr Raphael (clutching her neck with
her right hand), I never really sit to
question who likes me, you know, but
I would say, by and large, I have a
good relationship, because I could not
have done the things that we accom-
plished if I did not have the support
of the staff.
Briefly, some of your major accom-
Long-needed upgrading of the San-
gre Grande hospital; sprucing up the
hospital s mortuary to give mourners
a sense of dignity in their time of
grief; extending the accident and
emergency department; improving the
dialysis unit; and so on.
Ms Ali, a birdie whispered to me that there is
an exorbitant amount of overtime work here?
Well, that is a very sore point; overtime in the
lab, the pharmacy and radiology...is over $200,000
a month. A hospital operates 24/7 and if you have
shift workers, overtime would be at a minimum...
it is human resources and management.
Ms Ali, is it fair to say there is no love lost
between you and the chairman?
(Gesticulating with left hand in the air) Oh no.
I love my chairman. We have the most beautiful
relationship; we fight and we make up, and I will
continue to say he probably means well, but he is
What is this about some ten managers leaving
under your watch?
First of all, no ten managers left: two are under
the ministry of health, so the ministry will shift
them to any areas they are needed; so that is a bla-
tant lie. One is permanent in OSH; others are con-
tract workers and some of them were called for
Finally, this talk we re hearing that you got the
CEO position at the behest of Minister Khan?
Well, if Dr Khan could have given me a job, that
would be very good; and the fact is, I am getting
too little pay.
I was interviewed for the job. The board approved
my appointment and it took into consideration that
I did not have a masters graduate degree in health.
But the fact is I am an attorney, I worked in the
organisation for 30 years, I am results-oriented and
I was the operating manager at the NWRHA.
Can you, Mr Raphael, put in a word for me so
I can receive a little more donzai? (laughs)
From Page A10
"First of all,
two are under
of health, so
will shift them
to any areas
that is a
some of them
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