BY ALEX DADAMU
THE Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale through a statement this afternoon has described the sacking of Dr. Claude Posala, Head of the Eye Department at National Referral Hospital by the government as ill-considered and a decision based on bad judgment.
The opposition press quoted Hon. Wale as saying that the Solomon Islands need all the qualified professionals it has in the country to be harnessed to the fight against COVID-19. Unless a health professional has committed an offense so grievous that would negatively impact the effectiveness of the fight against COVID-19, he or she should not be removed.
“In this case, it appears Dr. Posala has been summarily dismissed for the slightest error in posts he made on Facebook,” the Opposition Leader said.
Opposition Press statement continued to highlight Hon. Wale stressing that merely posting an internal memo from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services cannot be grievous enough to warrant removal.
“Although the memo was an internal memo, no damage is done in making it public. There is a place for transparency around these kinds of internal directions that is healthy and must be encouraged,” the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition said.
Hon. Wale stressed that Dr. Claude Posala is the President of the SI Medical Association and should be accorded some understanding to allow him the space to advocate for his members’ interests.
“What benefit is gained by dismissing a frontline health professional? What cost was incurred from the Facebook post?
“In weighing the benefits of retaining Dr. Posala in the healthcare system at this time against the loss from his removal, surely our need to retain him should outweigh any wrongs he committed in his Facebook posts.
“I pray that common sense prevails in this case, and all matters are given their due proportionate weight.
“Regulation 26 of the Emergency Powers (COVID19) Regulations 2020 is a potential obstacle to the free flow of information from frontline experience to decision-makers.
“Frontline professionals should be allowed free speech so we know what issues they are facing and must be addressed. To ban their free speech may result in lives lost if the virus gets here,” Hon. Wale added.
He, therefore, called on the Prime Minister to immediately reinstate Dr. Posala and to review Regulation 26 to exempt frontline professionals from the media gag.