Shocked SWRHA employees told Newsday that as he entered the office at about 8.30 am, several guards told Ramroop, “You are not supposed to enter this office. You must leave immediately.”
The eyewitnesses said the guards escorted Ramroop out of the office and he left the compound which houses the hospital and the offices of the SWRHA.
Ramroop was fired by the SWRHA board of directors last Friday, however no reason was given in the termination letter he received. Sources said the letter advised Ramroop that the extension of his contract as medical director was withdrawn with immediate effect. SWRHA chief executive officer Michael Harris also vacated his office last Friday, but he resigned.
When contacted, officials of the security department declined to comment, however Newsday was told that what happened yesterday was a repeat of what took place when Ramroop was fired last Friday, when he was asked to vacate the medical director’s office. According to sources, after Ramroop packed his personal items into boxes and carried them to his car, two security guards searched his vehicle and only then was he allowed to leave the compound.
Sources said when Ramroop was fired as medical director he asked what would be his next job. He was advised to resume his previous post as specialist medical officer of the casualty department. He was on no-pay leave from this post while serving as medical director.
Sources said Ramroop returned to the hospital yesterday to begin his duties as a specialist medical officer and was reporting to the acting medical director Dr Anand Chattergoon when the guards escorted him from the compound.
The resignation of Harris and Ramroop’s termination followed two meetings held at the Ministry of Health last Tuesday and Thursday between ministry officials and SWRHA executives. Ramroop and Harris were unavailable for comment yesterday.
Nalini Parasram-Rajballie, communications specialist at the SWRHA, yesterday said she knew nothing about Ramroop being escorted by security guards but confirmed he was to report to work in the casualty department.
“We know of no such thing occurring but will look into it. Dr Ramroop was asked to withdraw from the position of medical director of San Fernando General Hospital, he does not leave the organisation but returns to his substantive position as specialist medical officer at the hospital,” she said.
In a statement, the SWRHA said Harris had resigned and Paula Chester-Cumberbatch was appointed acting CEO in the interim. The SWRHA also advised that Dr Chattergoon, the Head of Anaesthetics, would act as medical director.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry of Health in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Health Minister Jerry Narace, asked about the dismissal of Ramroop and the resignation of Harris, sought to distance himself from the action, saying it was the board of SWRHA which took the action.
He sought to clarify the ministry’s position saying, “the Ministry of Health is engaged in monitoring performance management as well as conducting investigations into various RHAs.”
Asked about the dismissal and resignation occurring hours after he met with the board, Narace said he felt he adequately dealt with the matter.
He said the ministry would encourage any action by a board to create a stronger institution.