Opinion: Circus act

POSTED: 11/22/12 1:39 PM

We’re not going to dwell on the circus act by Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever on this page: we respect his tearing up a copy of our newspaper as an event that is covered by everybody’s right to freedom of expression. Sending a letter to the editor and pointing out what exactly is wrong with our reporting about the St. Maarten Medical Center would have been more instructive for our readers of course, but we figure that the Minister’s time is precious. Tearing up a newspaper simply costs less time than writing a well thought through letter to the editor. Still, we appreciate the compliment for our independent reporting.

What we do not understand very well is why the Minister first sent a furious letter to the St. Maarten Medical Center in which he refuses to provide the information the SMMC asked for, to make at least half of that information public a couple of days later anyway.

The letter to the SMMC was a huge overreaction and the Minister knows it. We did not make up the text of the letter; the Minister signed it with his name. He also maintained in his letter that hospital Director George Scot’s AnG Consultancy NV is questionable, even though we have already explained to our readers that there is nothing wrong with this fiscal construction that the NV is properly registered and that is also has a crib number at the tax office.

We are now left to wonder which information requested by the SMMC would – as the minister wrote in his letter – endanger the unity of government by creating a rift between various entities and ministries.

It cannot be the first question: did the Minister give any instructions to his Inspectorate about the hospital? At the press briefing the minister said that he had not given any instructions. If it is possible to say this in a public press briefing, why is it not possible to provide such information to the SMMC? We don’t get it, but maybe that’s because we are not in politics.

Was it then, maybe, the question whether the ministry had given any licenses to companies for the establishment of health centers? Now the Minister did not clarify this point entirely in the press briefing. He said, literally: “No licenses have been issued to the American Clinic.”

In other words, Sam Hess and Al Wathey are still waiting, even though they have a letter of intent and a Memorandum of Understanding in their pockets. That no license has been issued to the American Clinic does not exclude the possibility that a license could have been issued to someone else – for instance to that shady group of South Africans that made an attempt to sell its plans to a Central Committee meeting almost a year ago. So this point remains more or less open. From a political point of view, De Weever’s information was rather brilliant. He said something without giving the whole story away.

The Minister further re-established that there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the American Clinic. He even offered the media a copy of the first page of this document, so we figure that the hot stuff is in the pages the Minister did not present.

Therefore we do not exactly know what the agreement between Sam Hess and the government entails. Sure, the letter of intent sheds some light on the matter, but it will not do anything to put suspicions at the SMMC to rest.

The American Clinic – if it ever sees the light of day – is apparently free to treat patients that are covered by private insurance, so that’s a part of the market the SMMC is going to miss – at least some of it. The clinic could even catch SZV-patients if they are referred to it by “the relevant authorities.”

That leaves one question posed by the SMMC in its request to the ministry completely unanswered: the national decrees containing the decisions to appoint health inspectors, including the current Inspector General Earl Best.

Is that where the real problem lies then? We are not sure (though we are bound to find out) whether this is true or not. But Minister De Weever did not mention this topic at the press briefing while he tackled practically all other issues from the SMMC-request.

It makes us wonder whether those appointments exist. If they don’t, they could indeed become the source of a threat to the government’s unity and of a rift between government entities and ministries. While it is of course attractive to speculate, we’ll let it go for now, until we are able to objectively report about the true state of affairs.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Circus act by

Comments are closed.