SMMC wants copies of licenses for other health centers – Court sentences De Weever to provide information to hospital

POSTED: 11/20/12 1:59 PM

St. Maarten –Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Affairs Cornelius de Weever has so far refused to take decision on a request by the St. Maarten Medical Center to provide it with information related to the ministry’s inspectorate and two licenses for the establishment of health care centers.

The administrative court sentenced the minister on October 29 to provide this information within three weeks, under threat of a penalty of $250 per day for non-compliance with a maximum of $25,000. The three-week term ends today, but up to yesterday the SMMC had not received the requested information.

The hospital filed a request based on the national ordinance for public administration on September 20. The hospital asked the minister for “any instruction given by you to the Inspectorate of Public Health (….) insofar such an instruction pertains either directly or indirectly to the SMMC.”

Furthermore, the hospital asked for all licenses that have been granted for the establishment of a health center. The request refers to the relevant articles in the national ordinance for hospital facilities. In case such licenses have been issues, the hospital requested copies of all advices rendered in relation to them.

The hospital also asked for a copy of the memorandum of understanding signed between the government of St. Maarten and the American Clinic and/or S. Hess, D. Haight and T. Allen.

Lastly, the hospital requested “all national decrees containing the decisions to appoint the current health inspectors, including the current inspector-general.”

Quoting from the ordinance on public administration, the court pointed out that the government

has to reply to a request within three weeks and that it has the option to extend this period with another three weeks. The person who requested the information has to be informed in writing about such an extension; the government has to give its reasons for the delay as well.

Minister De Weever would have had to react to the request by October 12.

The information the medical center has requested has to do with the possible establishment of the American Clinic in Simpson Bay. The initiator for this plan, Samuel Hess, told this newspaper in an interview published on September 9 that the company expects to break ground next to the ‘Royal Palm Resort by year’s end. Information obtained from the public registry of the Cadastre shows that the land the American clinic wants to use for its project belongs to Island Stone N.V. Albert Claudius Wathey III is listed as this company’s sole director since February 8, 1983.

The first question the SMMC posed to Minister de Weever is an interesting one. The hospital wants to know whether the minister give any specific instructions to Inspector General Earl Best pertaining to SMMC. This could for instance explain the witch hunt the inspectorate has unleashed against the hospital.

It is no coincidence that the next questions are about licenses issued for the establishment of healthcare centers (like the American Clinic), and about advice rendered in relationship to such licenses. The request for a copy of the memorandum of understanding between the government and the American Clinic is the cream on the cake.

The hospital is also looking into the national decrees that contain the decisions about the appointment in particular of Inspector General Earl Best. In case such a decree is missing, all actions undertaken so far by the Inspector General could be declared illegal.

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