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Matters come to a head at NCRHA
The acting CEO of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), Colin Bissessar, has proceeded on leave. Sources told the T&T Guardian the NCRHA board, led by chairman Shehenaz Mohammed, met yesterday and instructed Bissessar to apply immediately for his vacation. The T&T Guardian learned a van owned by the authority and used by Bissessar was searched by security officers before he left the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
A directive was also given to seize all the shredders in the offices of executive management in Building 39. The move, T&T Guardian learned, did not come as a surprise, as tensions had been brewing between Bissessar and Mohammed since she was appointed. Bissessar and Mohammed had butted heads on several occasions when she acted as the president of the Medical Professionals Association (MPATT). Among them was an incident in February last year when Mohammed wrote to former chairman Dr Ashvin Sharma condemning Bissessar’s handling of matters. Mohammed said despite numerous attempts to meet with him to discuss matters involving three of its members, the association had been repeatedly blanked. Mohammed said in letters dated June 29, July 6, September 16 and October 14, MPATT tried to arrange to meet with Bissessar to discuss the matter, but was told it needed to meet with the human resources department. But sources said “unreasonable demands” caused the relationship between Bissessar and Mohammed to become even more strained after the new board was appointed. “Clearly there is a mix-up of functions. The actions and demands are that of an executive chairman. What is happening at the NCRHA is overbearing, and the health minister needs to immediately get involved,” a senior official commented.
The T&T Guardian learned Mohammed was selected by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and was not the choice of Health Minister Fuad Khan. However, sources said, Khan gave a commitment to work with Mohammed in the interest of upgrading health care at the hospital. A series of complaints had been levelled against Bissessar who had taken over from former CEO Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt. Khan had confirmed to the T&T Guardian that he had received oral complaints about Bissessar but was yet to receive any written correspondence. Former acting medical director Dr Rodney Ramroop is tipped to act as CEO. When contacted yesterday, Mohammed said Bissessar had accumulated a substantial amount of leave which he needed to take. Asked if Bissessar had been forced on leave, Mohammed said, “He had more than 100 days” leave accumulated. “He was not fired or forced to take leave. In the letter he said he needed to deal with a family matter and needed to take his leave.” Khan confirmed yesterday that Bissessar proceeded on leave. However, he could not explain why Bissessar’s vehicle was searched. “You do not search people going on leave. I would have to find out why they did that.” Bissessar could not be reached for comment.
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