IT pays to find out the real issues before speaking out. When we don’t, we only end up looking foolish in the eyes of the public.
That seems to be the case with FSII this week. It called, according to the two newspapers, for the removal of Mr Michael Green, the infrastructure adviser in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
Mr Green allegedly refused an offer by local businessman Justin Fu’uo’s company to undertake the urgent repair work on two operating theatres at the National Referral Hospital.
These operating theatres have been closed since last December.
I am not sure that removing Mr Green would solve the problem inherent within the system, not only at the National Referral Hospital, but in the entire public sector.
Nothing seems to be undertaken according to rules that have been laid down since we inherit the practices enshrined in the general orders, financial instruction manuals and so on.
In my view Mr Green was only trying to ensure whoever gets the contract has come through the front door.
Allowing the offer to proceed has the potential for confusion, claims and counter-claims as to who the real contractor is.
It was good of Mr Fu’uo to offer his company’s expertise.
But like so many things in this country, the line of communication within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services seems to have been clogged up with the irrelevant that transmitting such vital information never took place or if it did, very late.
On many occasions important information often lands in the wrong places or far too late.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry made the following remarks, in part to alleypublic fears over the delays and also to assure a cynical public that it is working to restore the theatres to working order.
“The MHMS Executive is very conscious of the delay in renovating the Operation Theatres. However, the scope of work requires a proper assessment and procurement of appropriate materials from outside Solomon Islands.
“… (It) is required to undertake its procurement and construction activities in accordance with SIG processes and requirements. (In)… compliance with these processes and requirements, architects have been engaged to prepare detailed plans to ensure the detailed specific requirements for the repairs are fully documented and coordinated.
“The plans were completed on Monday 8 February. A parallel procurement process for building contractors was completed on Friday 5 February and a building contractor had been appointed under that process to commence repair works as soon as possible,” the statement said.
“However, a lapse in communication means the TGA management was not conveyed these important technical details before sending their men to carry out repair works last Saturday.”
But why wasn’t a public tender called for this work? If a public tender was called, did TGA lose out? These are some of the questions that authorities must answer.
For example, the impression the public has is that all of a sudden authorities stumble on the leaking operating theatres.
Surely, they must have known about these festering problem months ago.
One wonders how many other sections of the National Referral Hospital are not holding up and yet nothing is being done to correct them.
I don’t know who Mr Green is nor where he comes from but I am certain he has done the right thing given the fact that all the paperwork had been completed and that a contractor had been selected.
Just imagine the furore that would have ensued if TGA’s offer was accepted.
There is only one right way of doing things unless you are a bus driver in Honiara – then and only then can you create and practice your own rules at your pleasure, putting road users at huge risks.
By Alfred Sasako