TSXM – GREAT BAY – Julian Lynch, president of the healthcare workers union WIHCUA accused Gersji Rodrigues Pereira of corruption yesterday morning in a statement he made to Caribisch Netwerk-reporter Andrew Dick during a demonstration outside the St. Maarten Medical Center where Pereira has been appointed as the successor of director George Scot.
“Of course we have people in St. Maarten; they do not have to come all the way from the Netherlands. People think that we are not able to do anything, but in the Netherlands they are not able to do anything either. They are all corrupt and he (Pereira – ed.) is one of them,” Lynch said.
Staff members of the SMMC protested yesterday morning outside the hospital against the arrival of the new director, who is scheduled to start working today.
“The problem is,” Lynch said, “they are bringing someone to St. Maarten from the Netherlands who has done all kinds of bad things. We are against it. He will not get in here as long as the union is there.”
Asked what will happen this morning, Lynch said: “You have to be here to hear and to see what will happen.”
It is unclear what the basis is for the accusation against Pereira. He was the chairman of the board of the IJsselmeerziekenhuizen – the Dr. Jansen hospital in Emmeloord and the Zuiderzee hospital in Lelystad. In 2008, a controversy surfaced after health inspectors found that the air in the surgery theaters in both hospitals was not sterile and that this
Pereira said at the time that the hospitals took the decision to suspend surgeries and that the order did not come from the inspectorate. According to Pereira, the problem was caused by maintenance-arrears. He said that renovation plans were in the works and that the safety of patients had at no time be in danger.
A day after the story broke, the supervisory board of the hospitals put Rodrigues Pereira on n on-active duty. He was the only member of the hospitals’ board of directors. In this controversy, Pereira has never been accused of corruption.
The IJsselmeer hospitals have a long history of conflicts and controversies that began even before Rodrigues Pereira was appointed to the board of directors in 2004. The year 2008 was a defining moment. The hospitals encountered a multi-million deficit, more than one hundred jobs were at risk, patients stayed away, maintenance fell by the wayside and in the end the health inspectorate considered surgery at the hospitals no longer safe.
Rodrigues Pereira and the medical staff did not see eye to eye anymore, and the unions criticized the supervisory board that should have seen the deficit coming months earlier. It appeared that Rodrigues Pereira knew already in April 2008 that the surgery-condition in the hospitals were unsafe, but he did nothing about it. In the end, that became his downfall.