By Benjamin Flowers
People’s National Party Leader Will Maheia condemned this week the various incidents of misappropriation of funds in the Ministry of Health, citing political appointments as one of the major causes.
“There are too many political appointees in the ministry; this system creates an environment that enables corruption,” Maheia said. “The blame game has to stop, and the people at the top need to be accountable.”
Maheia underscored that employees in the public sector who have been politically appointed generally tend to have low levels of productivity and low accountability to their superiors.
The Ministry of Health this week issued a press release stating it had suspended the administrators of both the Punta Gorda and Dangriga primary care provider clinics based on the preliminary results of an audit done by the Auditor General’s office.
The suspensions, the ministry says, are a precautionary measure until thorough investigations into the improprieties are complete. The ministry has said that measures were put in place to ensure that hospital services would not be affected by the suspensions.
The Ministry of Health requested a full-time audit team from the Ministries of Public Service and Finance, and said that it anticipates the support of those ministries in the “increased monitoring and oversight of all public health services throughout the country.”
Ministry executives declined comment on the suspensions.
Former administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital Nashley Sommerville also faced a Public Service Commission tribunal this week to answer accusations of misappropriating $366,000 over a two-year period.