No decision yet on HSA’s chief

Craig Brown is the CEO of the Health Services Authority and would like to remain in that position.

HSA Chairman of the Board Al Ebanks said he would like to see it worked out for Mr. Brown to stay on as CEO, and that any reports suggesting the contrary are just speculation.

Health Services Authority CEO Craig Brown

Health Services Authority CEO Craig Brown. Photo: File

‘The board has made no decision on the CEO,’ said Mr. Ebanks this week. ‘The CEO is still at work and still at his job.’

Mr. Ebanks acknowledged, however, that there are issues between the HSA board and Mr. Brown that needed resolving.

The relationship between the HSA board and Mr. Brown ran into difficulty partially as a result of the high-profile dismissal of Chief Operating Officer Kathy Gomez, who is the sister of Cabinet Minister Charles Clifford and wife of Ministry of District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing Permanent Secretary Kerney Gomez.

Apparently from official comments made so far, the issue is not so much that Mrs. Gomez was dismissed, but the way she was dismissed. Health Minister Anthony Eden reported that he had been told Mrs. Gomez, a long-standing civil servant, simply found a letter of dismissal on her desk one morning.

In addition, questions were raised publicly with regard to Mr. Brown’s interaction with of the owners of Executive Air Services Ltd. when they came to see him concerning the tender of the air ambulance service.

Mr. Eden subsequently said he expected HSA staff members and members of the public to be treated with respect and sensitivity, and that he expected Mr. Brown to use proper business acumen and diplomacy in his dealing with staff.

Mr. Ebanks said the HSA board was still having discussions concerning the current matter, but that he would like to see the situation resolved in a way that would allow Mr. Brown to stay on as CEO.

‘The goal is to resolve this amicably for all involved,’ he said. ‘If we simply wanted to get rid of Mr. Brown, he would be gone already.’

For his part, Mr. Brown said he would like to remain in his current position.

‘I am still committed to the HSA and have no desire to step down as CEO,’ he said Tuesday.

If Mr. Brown were to leave the HSA, Mr. Ebanks said the HSA would survive, but that he hoped to avoid that happening.

‘We didn’t bring Mr. Brown here to fail,’ he said.

‘At the end of the day, no one wins if he leaves.’

However, Mr. Ebanks said it was also important to come to a resolution of the matter that was best for all parties so that the HSA could move forward.

‘Everyone has to get back on the same page of dealing with the country’s healthcare,’ he said.

Mr. Ebanks declined to get into any specifics about the current discussions taking place.

‘As you will appreciate these issues are often complex,’ Mr. Ebanks said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday. ‘The Board continues to be committed to fair treatment of all employees in adherence of our own human resources policies and the Cayman Islands’ labour laws.

Mr. Ebanks said the HSA had undergone an extensive review through several methods and that it was endeavouring to take the organisation in the direction that staff had communicated.

‘We must remind ourselves that change is not always comfortable,’ he stated. ‘But we can assure all concerned that the Board is committed to ensuring that, where appropriate, any change is carried out in consultation with those who are impacted by such change and with the utmost sensitivity and respect for all concerned.’

Mr. Ebanks said in a telephone interview it was important for the HSA’s CEO to be in a position to run the organisation.

‘The ultimate goal for the HSA is for us to have an organisation that functions from head to toe, the way it should function.’

Mr. Ebanks confirmed that the HSA had taken legal advice on the matter, but warned about reading too much into it.

‘The board takes legal advice on anything that affects the HSA,’ he said. ‘Taking legal advice is really par for the course with the HSA.

‘Sometimes the legal advice is just guidance.’

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