- The following statement was issued today, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, by One Bermuda Alliance MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister of Health…
On Friday, November 15, 2019, Bermuda’s Supreme Court heard legal arguments in a claim brought against the Premier of Bermuda and others by the former CEO of the Bermuda Health Council, Tawanna Wedderburn.
She lost her claim for Judicial Review on the legal ground that her role was not sufficiently “public” to qualify for the public law remedy of Judicial Review.
Yet it is the evidence that Mrs Wedderburn gave to the Court that is crucially important.
Mrs Wedderburn served a Writ against the Premier, the Minister of Health, and others, contending that her termination as CEO was unlawful. The Court’s Judgment, released a few weeks earlier, records the sworn evidence of Mrs Wedderburn.
Her evidence is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
In relation to Mrs Wedderburn’s allegations, which she has confirmed under oath, the Court records at paragraph 29: “If they are true, they would raise very serious questions as to whether the statutory purpose of the [Bermuda Health] Council was being undermined by political pressure from members of the Cabinet for questionable reasons.”
What are those ‘questionable reasons’?
Mrs Wedderburn accuses the Premier of Bermuda of assisting former Premier Dr Ewart Brown over the reimbursement rates charged by Dr. Brown for medical services provided by his Bermuda HealthCare Services. The Court’s Judgment records at para 23: “There is evidence of direct involvement by the Premier [David Burt] in fixing rates of reimbursement that would be applied to Bermuda Healthcare and BDC ‘to achieve an outcome that would be perceived by [Dr.] Brown to be favourable’.”
Mrs Wedderburn also contends that political pressure was successfully applied to remove her as CEO.
Her sworn evidence to the Court is recorded at paragraph 26 of the Judgment. Mrs Wedderburn says she was terminated as CEO because the Council “required new leadership, it required that leadership because it was going in a new strategic direction.” Simply put, Mrs Wedderburn’s sworn evidence to the Court is that “her termination [as CEO] was ‘politically motivated’.”
It will be for the Court to decide whether her sworn evidence is true, but, as the Court noted, “very serious questions” have been raised. Answers are required.
The Court’s Judgment is available to the public on the Supreme Court website. Mrs Wedderburn’s sworn allegations primarily appear at paragraphs 22 to 29.