Husband Of Former BHEC CEO Speaks Out

January 29, 2019

Tawanna WedderburnLivingston Wedderburn — the husband of former Bermuda Health Council CEO Tawanna Wedderburn — has spoken out, alleging that his wife was “mercilessly fired as the CEO”.

In December of last year, the Bermuda Health Council confirmed the “separation of employment” between the Council and its former CEO Tawanna Wedderburn.

The entire statement from the organisation at that time said, “The Bermuda Health Council confirms the separation of employment today between the Council and its former CEO, Ms. Tawanna Wedderburn.

“The Council will continue to work hard to successfully deliver on its mandate of ensuring the effective provision of quality and affordable health services to the Bermuda public, and implementing health care reform.

“The Council thanks Ms. Wedderburn for her service as Acting CEO and CEO since 2015 and wishes her every success in her future endeavours.

“The Council will soon announce the interim appointment of an Acting CEO pending the Appointment of a new CEO and has no further comment at this time.”

In a letter sent to to the media, Livingston Wedderburn said, “I have written this in the capacity of Tawanna Wedderburn’s husband. The intent is to protect my family; embolden anyone similarly suffering silently; galvanize public attention to this very important matter; compel curiosity about the truth behind it; and to have culprits in any wrongdoing ultimately held to account.”

“Tawanna was mercilessly fired as the CEO of the Bermuda Health Council on December 7, 2018 leading to the Christmas holidays,” he alleged, saying that in his view the “timing was clearly of strategic significance judging from the severe pressure to which she was subjected to settle the matter before the season ended.

“The reason given to her for her firing amounts to: ‘Our future plans require new leadership so here’s the 26 weeks maximum settlement you’d get at the Employment Tribunal. Take it before we change our minds. You have one week to decide and a few minutes to clear your things from the office.’

“With that her almost 12 years’ service to the Council ended. No prior warning was provided before she arrived at work that morning and was mysteriously telephoned to meet at a restaurant.”

According to Mr Wedderburn, “Upon arrival she was given this news verbally then handed a sheet of paper with two different press release scenarios, one claiming she ‘amicably separated’, the other that she ‘resigned’. Her refusal to choose one resulted in the downplayed deception published locally online that same Friday afternoon.”

“I invite readers to go to the website and access the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 to see for themselves how unlikely what I am describing should be. You may also want to go to the Council’s website to see its internal governance documents.

“By reliable accounts Tawanna was passionate about her work, extremely competent, honest and respected. The Council provides a vital function for which the CEO’s role is indispensable. It has since been filled temporarily by a staff guest worker in an acting capacity. In addition to the predictable shock of what I am disclosing, we also carry the burden of affording legal representation to challenge this injustice.

Mr Wedderburn added, “As you can see we remain isolated. No one has yet come publically to Tawnna’s defense.”

“She’s severely wounded, professionally blighted as a fired employee and demoralized. So far they’re on point about the consequences of taking a stance. Her career prospects are severely limited especially with this matter unresolved. ”

He added that people close to them warn them about “this demonstration of power,” he added saying they “speculate about the enormous amount of money in healthcare, over $720 million dollars and mounting.”

“I apologize to Tawanna and our children if this single-handed decision to rant and to publicize my outrage in any way undermines her usual professional approach for redress,” he added. “I know she will handle this as courageously and appropriately as she always does.

Asking “what happened to the legal protections” and “how can someone’s extensive career in such a vital capacity be so brazenly ended seemingly without regard for public scrutiny or even a warning to her, let alone giving reasons,” he also asked who “plotted and led the charge” and “who appointed and/or instructed them? ”

“In Tawanna’s stead, who will be selected to defend the interests of Bermudians who desperately need healthcare and cannot afford it?

“Why the rush to get rid of her now?”

“It will not go unchallenged,” he added. “Limited resources will not prevent access to the courts. A judge will have the final say with the benefit of everyone’s spilled guts. The veil of secrecy is being removed as I write and it will be ripped to shreds until justice prevails.”

“The writing is no longer on the wall. It’s transmitted by Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp and it will say your names. And this proverbial slingshot prepared for Goliath has GPS laser guided accuracy,” he said.

We asked the Health Council if Mrs Wedderburn was fired and if so, why was she fired and who made the decision to fire her, and also asked who has replaced her.

In response they said, “As you can appreciate, it is not appropriate for the Health Council to comment on matters related to human resources. We thank Mrs Wedderburn for her service and dedication to the Council and to the people of Bermuda during her tenure. As with any change in direction, we understand the request for more specifics, but do ask that the privacy of the persons involved be respected.

“During 2019, the Health Council seeks to positively support our health system to improve patient outcomes through more integrated hospital and community based programs; provider satisfaction through more efficient payment models; better health policy through more local research and data analysis; and active public dialogue through clear communication and timely release of information. We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to improve healthcare in Bermuda.

“To that end, on 12th December 2018 the Bermuda Health Council appointed Dr Ricky C. Brathwaite as Acting CEO to ensure leadership and continuity of essential functions. Dr Brathwaite has held the Acting CEO role on numerous occasions in the past so has strong familiarity with the role. His appointment was approved by the Minister of Health in accordance with section 9[1] of the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004.

“The Board is actively developing its strategic plan and looking forward to remaining focused on improving healthcare for the people of Bermuda and is very pleased to have Dr Brathwaite on board at the helm.”

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