Speak for what is right and you get arrested.. What is the Jewel coming to?
A chilling event occurred this afternoon: a KHMH whistleblower named Delroy Herrera was arrested because he dared to speak out against the KHMH on radio this morning.
Herrera called into the KREM WUB and read out the contents of a March 2010 five page memorandum in which the Hospital’s Director Of Operations, Angela Wade details various violations of procedure by higher – ups at the hospital.
Herrera is a former store clerk at the hospital who allegedly came into possession of over ten thousand documents all as digital files. Those documents have found their way into a number of media houses as the Independent Newspaper and the Reporter have published various reports. The reporter was immediately threatened with a lawsuit for publishing contents of internal documents.
We are in possession of the memorandum which was read on radio this morning – and also contacted the KHMH today to get comment on it – but we got no response from their public relations officer.
Eventually, at a few minutes to five, we got a call from a Crown Counsel advising us that it is a legal and police matter and we would get into quote, “hot water” if we published any of the documents.
As the Crown Counsel explained it, over thirty thousand documents were stolen from the KHMH’s server – and they allege that Herrera gained unlawful access to the KHMH server because he was not privvy to those document as a store clerk.
He remains detained at this hour and police have confiscated a laptop and desktop computer from his home. As we understand it he is being investigated for the charge of handling stolen goods – presumably, those stolen goods are the digital files which he is in possession of.
However, Belize’s criminal code, section 171 and 172 do not say anything about digital content or media as goods that can be stolen. Proving how digital information – which has no physical properties is stolen goods should be interesting. But, for the time being no charge has been laid, and the bottom line is a man is detained for blowing the whistle on alleged abuses at the KHMH.
As an editorial comment, we will say that it is a sinister attempt to suppress the free flow of information and we condemn it. That attempts are also being made to intimidate the media into not running the story is also profoundly disturbing. But, all that aside, we will not be cowed into submission or suppression, so we look now at the memo itself. Again it is from the Director Of Operations, and it covers first a pair of checques which – the Director claims – was paid without authorization to a contractor she describes as overpriced.
It moves then to tenders for medical ward renovation which she claims was mishandled by senior staff – and that caused unnecessary delays – but not dishonesty – in the process.
Her third point has to do with appointments and the operations director says, quote:
“Recently all staff in the front entrance under Mr. Perrera has been coming in from Orange Walk and are confirmed and promoted into post around the hospital even if they are not qualified. That staffs that have been there and are qualified are complaining if discrimination.”
She then moves unto what she called quote, “The Line of Authority and a blatant disrespect for authority.” Operations Director Wade laments, quote: “no matter what happens, no matter what line of authority we have in place, Mr. Perera is left to do as he pleases and push people into all directorate and cause conflicts.”
The Mr. Perrera spoken of is Director of Finance Carlos Perrera who today told us he cannot speak officially and that only CEO Dr. Gary Longsworth can speak. He did say though that those matters were dealt with between the CEO and Operations Director Wade. As to the specific allegation against him, he said, quote: “She can say anything she wants; it is not so.” He added that a lot of what she is saying is unsubstantiated.
There are more documents, thousands of them – some mundane, some sensational – and the man who blew the whistle remains in police custody tonight.