ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) is continuing to query the method used by the Ministry of Health and its rationale for selecting individuals for new positions within the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
AT&LU Industrial Relations Office Ralph Potter emphasised that the union is not taking issue with the creation of the positions, but he said the procedure used to create these positions was ominous.
The AT&LU believes the recent promotions were as a result of favouritism blatantly displayed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Edson Joseph. In one instance an EMS supervisor’s subordinate became his boss overnight.
Even though Joseph declared that he chose the best individuals for the posts, based on their qualification, Potter disagrees.
“You have had cases where people who have been in a workplace for a much shorter period of time being promoted and eventually becoming the person at the top. Generally speaking there is nothing wrong with that as long as there is a proper process and the person who you are moving is qualified and has demonstrated by way of quality of performance that they are the best suited person for the job. This is not the case in this instance,” Potter said.
The industrial relations officer explained that the head of the department and other qualified persons were not given a chance to apply for or show interest in the position.
He also questioned how the two new positions were being financed when there was said to be no money to deal with outstanding issues over risk pay allowances.
Potter said the Antigua Trades & Labour Union wrote a letter to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and Minister of Health Willmoth Daniel, requesting a meeting on the EMS issue, but they have not yet responded.
The AT&LU has threatened industrial action if Spencer and Daniel continue to ignore their calls for a meeting.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)