Two new members appointed to supervisory council – St. Maarten Medical Center bids farewell to chairman Clarence Richardson

POSTED: 08/30/12 12:43 PM

CAY HILL – The Sint Maarten Medical Center Foundation (SMMC) bids farewell to its chairman of the Supervisory Council Clarence Richardson after 7 years of dedicated service. “The SMMC sincerely expresses its appreciation for Mr. Richardson’s input throughout an eventful period. Among the many accomplished improvements at SMMC during the timeframe that Mr. Richardson was part of the Supervisory Council we would like to single out his extraordinary contribution to the adoption of the current collective labor agreement,” Dr. George Scot, president of the board of directors said in a press statement released yesterday.

Two new Supervisory Council members, Reuben Essed and Robert Jan James, have been appointed per August 25.

“The strive is that the Supervisory Council members have diverse backgrounds and that they have expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: medical care, finance, management, legal matters, human resources, business administration and representation of patient interests. Candidates must meet strict requirements to avoid a conflict of interest situation,” dr. Scot stated.

The council members have decided to view the coming 6 months as a transition phase during which the positions are divided as follows: Izzy Gerstenbluth, (since March 2011) interim chairman (medical); Reuben Essed, (August 2012) interim vice chairman, (legal); Sixto Peters (October 2008) member, (financial); Edwin Benjamin, (March 2012) member (business/managerial expertise); Robert-Jan James (August 2012) member (expertise on re-organization processes and management).

After the 6 months transition phase the members will decide on the definite constellation within the Supervisory Council.

“Based on recent incorrect statements made in the media relating to the corporate governance of the SMMC, we would like to use the opportunity to inform the public about the corporate governance structure of the SMMC as laid down in its articles of association (the Articles) that are currently in effect,” Dr. Scot stated.

SMMC is a private not-for-profit organization. In line with the corporate governance regulations, the Articles of St. Maarten Medical Center were amended in 2008 after approval of the then Executive Council of St. Maarten. Pursuant to the Articles, SMMC has two corporate bodies: a Board of Directors and a Supervisory Council.
SMMC is managed by its Board of Directors, which consists of one or two members. Members are appointed by the Supervisory Council after consultation with the former Executive Council (per October 10, 2010 – the Minister of Health), in accordance with the profiles as determined by the Supervisory Council and the Minister of Health.
If the board of directors consists of two members, the Articles determine that one must have an economic/financial background and the other member must have a medical background. The Supervisory Council appoints its president who shall act as the general director, who represents SMMC. If there is one person he or she is the general director and automatically the president of the board of directors. Currently that is the case at SMMC.

Under the Articles, the board of directors is responsible for the day to day operations and represents the hospital in matters of financial and legal nature. The board of directors is however restricted by the Articles in its authority. It must act within the specified parameters dictated by the Supervisory Council, such as an approved budget and established policies. The board of directors requires the Supervisory Council’s prior approval when it comes to matters relating to the purchase, sale, or mortgaging of real estate.

The board of directors is supervised by the Supervisory Council and consists of not less than three and not more than five members.

Members of the Supervisory Council are – in principle – appointed by the Minister of Health Affairs based on a binding nomination made by the Supervisory Council. Each binding nomination for a position on the Supervisory Council consists of two candidates. The Articles determine that if the Minister of Health fails to appoint one of the two candidates within 2 months after he has received the nomination, the Supervisory Council can appoint within one month thereafter one of these two candidates on the Supervisory Council itself.
Up to this date the Minister of Health never made use of his authority to appoint a nominated member of the Supervisory Council.

The main task of the Supervisory Council is to supervise and advise the Board of Directors.

A phased resignation schedule has been implemented within the Supervisory Council of SMMC in order to safeguard its continuity. Clarence Richardson was scheduled to resign in December 2011 considering that he reached the age of 70. Due to the fact that the previous chairman of the Supervisory Council unexpectedly resigned in October 2011 for personal reasons, the Supervisory Council was confronted with a possible threat to its continuity and therefore requested Richardson to act as interim chairman until a replacement was found in August 2012 by the latest.

The above is a short summary of the Articles and addresses some of the incorrect facts stated recently in media. The full text of the Articles are deposited with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sint Maarten and copies are available for any interested parties.

“Despite the incorrect and conflicting statements in recent media and unrest that this has created, SMMC will maintain its focus on providing safe, quality health care to the satisfaction of our patients and employees. Sint Maarten Medical Center will do its utmost to reinstate the confidence in the hospital care on Sint Maarten and invites the community to remain critical towards the information circulating about the hospital,” Dr. Scot noted.

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