28 May, 2007

Anguilla Health Authority

Anguilla Health Authority. The membership of the various Boards and Committees in Anguilla affected by a public trust is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. I have been writing on this blog a series of short exposees, so to say, of basic information on the membership of these Boards and their salaries. It seems to me important to make a statement from time to time of the more important issues that seem to affect these Boards and their programmes. We continue our series with a note on the Anguilla Health Authority. In its impact and importance, the AHA must be one of the most significant to us. Without health, it has been said, we have nothing.

The AHA was set up as a result of a 2002 study, the Health Systems Profile of Anguilla. Its function and purpose was described this way, “It is intended for the authority to be a decentralized model to deliver health care to the population. With the introduction of the Anguilla Health Authority, it is envisaged that there will be the most productive use of resources and a more timely response to the overall requirements of Health Services.”

A number of press releases and well-publicised public events preceded the introduction of the AHA. It would appear that great care was taken to keep the public informed of government’s intentions and plans.

The Authority is a statutory corporation. It was established by the Health Authority Act.

The organizational relationship between the Ministry of Health and the AHA has been described in this way:

The Ministry of Health will:
* focus on national policy formulation, regulations, setting standards, monitoring and enforcement;
* ensure that a national strategic plan is developed;
* ensure the enforcement of the Environmental Health Act;
* ‘purchase’ services from the Health Authority.

The Anguilla Health Authority:
* is a corporate body which will be responsible for all operational matters that promote and protect the health of persons;
* will also:
* provide integrated health services;
* operate, maintain, equip and extend facilities;
* ensure reasonable access to quality health services is provided to the public;
* routinely assess the needs for ‘personal care’ of persons

The Health Authority does not have its own website, and the government’s official site has very little on it. That makes it difficult to discover anything about the budget or governance of the Authority online. That said, someone, somewhere, is obviously impressed with its work. The government website contains a recent press release about the AHA receiving some sort of unexplained accreditation. Strangely, there is no indication of what institution did the accreditation, or what the award means in relation to our health services in Anguilla. But, then we do not expect much by way of real substantive information from a government press release, do we?

Inquiries made directly to Mr Dexter James reveals that its Board of Directors was appointed by the Minister of Health on January 1st, 2004 and in 2005. Three of the seven members' terms have come to an end, and the Minister has not filled the resulting vacancies. The current members are:

Dr. Phyllis Fleming Banks Chairperson
Mr. Fabian Proctor Deputy Chairperson
Ms Vernette Richardson Member
Mr. John Gumbs Member

They are paid a monthly allowance as follows:
Chairperson: EC $1,000.00
Deputy Chairperson: EC $850.00
Members: EC $650.00

These rates have been approved by the Governor in Council in 2004. It seems very little compensation for such an important activity as running our national health system. I wonder why have the three retired Board members have not been replaced? Surely, it would help to spread the load to have a full Board in place.

In addition, the Board has 4-standing Committees for which the Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons/members are each paid a monthly allowance of EC $400.00 and EC $300 respectively.

The Authority’s Budget for fiscal year 2007 in round figures is $20,700,000.00. That is an increase of 10% from the un-revised 2006 Budget of $18,800,000

In the event that any dispute should arise among staff, the authority has put in place a Dispute Resolution and Grievance Committee. Its members are Colville Petty OBE Chairman; Susan Harrigan, Carlton Pickering, Pastor Philip Gumbs, and Don Mitchell CBE QC members, and Denise Romney as secretary. The Chairperson and other members are paid a monthly allowance of EC$150.00 and EC100.00 respectively. In the event the Committee has to address substantive matters, the monthly allowance payable to the Chairperson and other members will be EC$300.00.

We all hope the AHA will grow in strength and that the undoubted improvement in health services since its inception will continue. Keep it up, Phyllis and company!


  1. Carlton Pickering is on the Dispute Resolution Committee? Is he any relation to the Carlton Pickering referred to below? If so, I dispute the wisdom of having him on this committee, having him working in our schools, having him teaching our children, having him be a role model for our children, having him work for the government of Anguilla in any position and not deporting him back to Guyana. How has the matter below been resolved?

    The followed was posted as a comment on this blog on April 20th:

    Please visit www.anguillatalk.com and reference the article entitled "Carlton Pickering's Masters Degree. The issue arose because of an article published in the Anguillian. There is a great possibility that this gentleman may have acquired this degree in ignorance or willfully. I looked meticulously into this schools history, and they are not credible and removed from several states, most recently Florida. My intent is to make people aware of the issue at hand and hopefully deter any others from attempting to obtain such material. The underlying economic effects, from persons possibly being compensated for these possibly fake degrees is huge. There must exist a ridge process for screen and attaching some form of validity to the experience to which these individuals stake claim. There are a host of other issues, much bigger than this. For instance, the possibility of foreign doctors, that may be mal-practicing on my people. Not saying that it happens, but it is a possibility. If there is a process for ensuring the validity of individuals, my questions are 1. Who overseas the process? 2. What goes on in the Process? 3. How long is the Process 4. and most Has anyone slipped through the cracks?

  2. Jamaica also had a similar problem with those degree mills. One persons why trying to get paid for a PH.D and the Jamaica accredidating council had to put out a series of public announcements to warn the public. I believe MR. pickering should do the right thing and resign his position. Otherwise, he should be ask to resign all his government appointed positions.

    ANguilla must set standards. We have qualified people with earned degrees. Again even the board should ahve already look at this.

    A MIT worker had to resign after they find out she had embelish her resume almost 15 years ago.

  3. Such a person sits in judgement of the integrity of Anguillians?

  4. Pickering is not a victim. Everyone knows you can't "Earn a degree in seven days" at any real university. See
    Note especially the guy who got a degree for his dog.

    In 2005 Pickering won an award from the International Association of Business Leaders.

    These annual "awards" are offered to many, many people in the Caribbean. If you don't get one, you may also "nominate" yourself.

    A condition of getting your award is you have to buy a "directory" containing a list of awardeees, which costs several hundred dollars. As part of the award package, you get free, "personalized" press releases, and the opportunity to attend a gala award dinner and ceremony, of course at your own cost.

  5. The authority will run much better if the Minister incharge of help would stop interfering by the way of his inaction.

    The AHA is not perfect but is better managed than any other govt. body.

  6. We have Guyanese with phony MBAs pretending to be "International Business Leaders" working as Educational Welfare Officers and counselling our children. We have former medical detail men (pharmceutical sales men) posing as "medical professionals" working as Ministers of Health and claiming to run things. We have Ministers secretly trying to amend our constitution behind our backs while lecturing us on good governance, openness, transparency and accountability. We have Dr. Vernal Bryan posing under countless names announcing that the next phase of our Revolution will start on Thursday. We have stupidness can't done.

    The Health Authority Board members are compounding the problem by their silence about the Minister's inaction. If they choose to act in public like the Minister's running dogs they shouldn't be surprised if he treats them as if they were running dogs. It's all very nice, very polite, very Anguillian and we can all claim to be going from strength to strength. Those who can afford it can go elsewhere for medical care and the poor people are screwed again.

    So if the Minister is at fault and the Authority fails to awaken him to action, they become co-conspirators -- equal partners in sharing the blame. Like most of Anguilla's church leaders, they can continue to live comfortable, important lives. And the poor people are screwed again.

  7. Please note it has 2 Carton Pickering, Jr ans Sr.

  8. Lahd, one was enough. Pickie been cloned?

  9. Actually, to be honest, the new Minister of Health inherited a health system that was in shambles. In his short time he has made tremendous strides in allowing the Board to function without political interference. For years we have been hearing talk about health insurance for all, and now with the Minister’s decisive leadership style this is being realized. It’s not perfect but it is a start, although Tim is making sounds like he was the person who got it all done. For your information, the Minister of Health has a B.Sc degree in Clinical Lab Science. If he worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep too, well more power to him. Sales reps are paid over a 100K in the USA.

    As it relates to his portfolio in education he has a lot more work to do. The new campus will be credited to him. But overall I believe he puts more emphasis on sports and will go down as the best sports Minister in AXA.

    So let’s be fair and remember this Minister accomplished all this in less than 3 years while you have Politicians in office for over 15 years, and what have they done?

  10. The Minister tried to bypass the Board and tell Dexter what to do. When he refused, the Minister tried to dump him. When the Board defended him and put the Minister in his place, then, and only then, when he failed at interfering, did he allow the Board to function without interfering.

    I'm glad he had a high paying job and knows how to do things in a lab. He knows nothing about management.

    Yes, some of the others are completely uneducated and unqualified. Neil is not, and a lot of us expected more of him.

    The first thing you need to do on a job is show up. He seems to have been gone at least 8 days to his son's graduation. Did he ever reach back?

    His inaction in education borders on criminal.

  11. Politicians are not suppose to be managers. They are there as aders. And so far, it appears that Health is on the right track. Great leaders offend some but get things done. Mediocre leaders take things personally and pass the blame around.

  12. The Health Authority has undergone some needed changes. This is true. And yes, we have enjoyed better health care availability. However, while we are examining those who are leading the changes have we taken a look at Dexter James? Do we know his history? As I understand it he is quite the ladies man with two ex-wives, a string of women that visit him and stay in the housing that is provided by our compensation, a daughter in college living with one of his ex-lovers that he was involved with while still married, and two babies on the way. I also have heard talk of him having an undercover affair with a female puablic offical; quite the questionable thing to do. Along with this his educational experience has been from online sites which have not been validated. How can someone with this type of questionable character effectivly lead the Health Authority to the next phase? Can anyone refute this information and produce creditable substantiated data? We deserve to have this cleared up so that we can have faith and belief in the leadership that our monies support.

    Since this is a forum for a Corruption-free Anguilla,let us examine these issues and have them cleared up as well. Yes, we all have personal lives but if one is a public servent and public monies pay for certain things then the public has the right to know.

  13. Well we have capable persons who can do Dexter's job, look at Ms Rogers she worked in Canada and has experience, yet they had someone from oversees doing the job, stop complaining Replace Dexter James that is simple. People must demonstrate when things like this is happening, Demonstration does not mean violence but show your dissent towards these things. Look at the organization and you would see the staff that is being recruited, we are just a bunch of laughing stocks people. Why who is there can not run the organization. I honestly do not see any change.

  14. the minister of health has been a colosal failure. he hasnt done anything for health or education. he has seen a dramatic rise in crime as the minister of social services, alcoholism, and dilinquency. Now, look at the swine flu situation in Anguilla. He is not even making a statement to the press. then again, the Minister of finance do not want any of his candidates talking to the press other than himself. then, the Dictator of FInance who will soon have british consultants breathing over his shoulder need to say something


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.