A call has been made for the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) to tell Tobagonians what is the status of an audit into the Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology Departments which began in March. During the audit, some of the workers in those units were sent on leave with full pay.
The call was made by Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority member Farley Augustine during a Progressive Democratic Patriots media briefing at its office in Scarborough.
A release by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development on March 20 stated an independent review had become necessary to manage the TRHA’s expenditure in a more efficient manner. It added, “This is not a punitive action but an administrative one that is necessary to ensure the independence of the payroll review process.”
Almost one month after, Augustine told reporters he was disturbed that during the audit process, vacancies in the authority were being advertised and interviews were being done while the Human Resources department was suspended.
On April 2, in response to an email sent by Newsday on March 29 about the hiring of staff at the TRHA without a Human Resources department, the CEO's office responded, “The positions being advertised are procurement specialist and hospital administrator, which have no direct connection to the Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology departments. The application deadline for procurement specialist has expired while the application deadline for hospital administrator is April 8.”
Augustine, on Tuesday, said the public must know what is the status of the audit since the TRHA recently advertised nine more positions including communications officer, registrar, hospital administrator, head nurse, night supervisor, district medical officer, legal officer, pharmacy manager, pharmacist and specialist medical officer.
“At this point we have not heard of the completion of the audit. People have been sent on leave for this audit and this continues to be so. In some instances, people who were sent on leave, their contracts expired with no indication as to what will happen thereafter. While people were sent on leave pending this audit, the TRHA still continues to advertise, hire and, in some cases, people have written up their own contacts because there is no legal person to do the contract.
“You cannot suspend HR workers and hire. Who is doing the hiring? This audit is a matter of political interference and public servants are being stymied from doing their jobs."