Linden Hospital Complex staff calls for the renewal of CEO’s contract
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Over 100 staff members of the Linden Hospital Complex, inclusive of nurses, doctors and administrative staff, have attached their signatures to a correspondence addressed to the Minister of Health, Dr. George Norton seeking his intervention in the renewal of the contract of Dr. Farouk Riyasat, Chief Executive Officer of the Complex. The employees, who were privy to information that another junior doctor, Quincy Jones, who returned from Cuba two years ago, was being recommended for the position by the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Mortimer Mingo and Vice Chairman, Minister of Communities Valarie Patterson.
The employees expressed concern that Dr. Riyasat, who was at the time on his annual leave, would have his contract terminated and the position would have been given to Jones. This was corroborated by another board member Mr. Maurice Butters who is also the General Secretary of the Region 10 Guyana Public Servants Workers’ Union.
Butters on Monday told the media that he was informed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Trevor Thomas, that he received a recommendation stating that Dr. Jones should be appointed as CEO by the Chairman of the Board, Mortimer Mingo who claimed that this was recommended by the entire board.
Butters said that this was never discussed at the level of the board and the decision by Mingo could be deemed unilateral. The union representative stood by the employees’ request, that Riyasat’s contract be renewed as he was the only senior and experienced medical officer at the institution. “Based on my knowledge, and I was there at the last meeting, this matter was never discussed at the board. This is not the first time, we find decisions being made, approaches made to the Ministry and the Board is not being officially informed about these approaches,” he exclaimed.
Butters said that during Riyasat’s tenure the hospital would have experienced the best period of stability. He spoke at length about Riyasat’s dedication and commitment to the betterment of the hospital and his selfless service to the patients.
“We have come a long way at that hospital To remove Dr. Riyasat means we are looking to destroy what was built and it will be an injustice to the people of Linden. Many times, he goes on vacation or holidays and he does not enjoy his vacation because many times there are emergencies and he is called out and he does not make a fuss about it to resolve whatever. He is there days and night. Where would we find someone with that kind of commitment to an institution?” Butters questioned.
Though his intent was not to degrade the recommended Dr. Jones, Butters said that Jones did not possess the needed experience to man three hospitals with three different types of staff. “To bring someone who would not have had one day of administrative experience in the Mackenzie Hospital to deal with these issues, we are looking for trouble.”
When asked the reason why a recommendation would have been made for another doctor to be appointed as CEO by the Chairman, Butters said that he believes it might be something personal. He criticised the way in which the board and hospital were being managed. “Mingo manages the hospital, he goes in there and he tells them what he wants to happen and this is what is destroying the management of the hospital.”
He said that according to the constitution of the hospital, the position for CEO, if available, must be advertised, internally and externally but this has not occurred. He also revealed that according to the contract, Riyasat should have been given three months’ notice, if the board did not want to renew his contract and this did not happen. “There are rules, and anyone who does not observe these rules are deemed to be autocratic,” he said.
This was echoed by the employees who in the correspondence stated that Dr. Riyasat had not reached the age of retirement and had given yeoman services beyond the call of duty.
Dr. Riyasat who returned to duty on Tuesday told this publication that he was not aware of the recommendation and he had returned to duty following the end of his vacation.
Chairman of the Board Mingo is currently overseas and efforts to contact him were futile. Vice Chairman of the Board, Minister Valarie Patterson, however, when contacted, said that she was aware that a recommendation was made for the appointment of Dr. Jones as CEO.

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