Roy Marlin about SMMC: “Set corporate governance aside for the occasion”

POSTED: 09/11/12 12:26 PM

St. Maarten – “We’ll have to set corporate governance aside for the occasion,” Democratic Party MP Roy Marlin said yesterday morning at the end of a plea in parliament to straighten out the situation at the St. Maarten Medical Center.
Marlin made his remarks during the ceremonial closing of the parliamentary year. “”If a parliamentary inquiry is necessary to force the management and the board to come to the parliament then so be it,” Marlin said.
He started his statement with an attack on this newspaper’s stand on corporate governance and that this stand was presented “as if only they are right and every minister and politician is wrong.”
“Not at all times should we sit back and allow these rules and regulations that we have created to dictate the course of an institution when we see it is going down in the wrong direction,” Marlin said. “I specifically refer to the St. Maarten Medical Center. My question is: why should we not get involved?
“There was a Property Owners foundation created years ago and the facility was constructed with loans from the central government. After many years of the SMMC not being able to pay the Property Owners Foundation the loans needed to be written off as part of St. Maarten’s debts. Who was called to handle this? The Executive Council, the federal members of parliament and the ministers of the National Alliance and the Democratic Party. No one said at that time that there was government intervention.
“It was good back then, so why is it not good now? The debts were written off, and who did it? The politicians. The liquidation of the property owners foundation and the transfer of the property to the SMMC were also done by politicians.”
Marlin noted that $2.1 million in harbor buy-back funds also went to the medical center for the purchase of much needed equipment. The government also secured funding to repair the hospital’s roof after hurricane Lenny in 1999. “No one spoke of corporate governance back then. And then we read that the board and the supervisory council with the help of some hot shot lawyers have the gall to tell the parliament and the minister: you have nothing to say? You’re dead wrong,” Marlin said.
The MP said that guaranteeing the continuity of healthcare will only cone about with the involvement of the Public health Minister and the parliament. “If we have to do this by infringing on the rules of corporate governance, then so be it,” Marlin said.

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