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'Sacked' surgeon case prompts no confidence vote in Jersey politicians

Photo: Dr Amar Alwitry

Jersey’s top politicians are facing a vote of no confidence after the controversial ‘sacking’ of a top hospital surgeon.

It's being brought by Deputy Mike Higgins, who claims the eye surgeon's dismissal "was a grossly unfair act".

Just days before expecting to take up a new post as a consultant eye doctor at Jersey’s General Hospital, Dr Amar Alwitry was told his contract was being terminated.

Dr Alwitry was given a contract as a Consultant Ophthalmologist in August 2012.

He had hoped to return to Jersey after a career in the UK, but says his job offer was withdrawn after he queried certain practices.

Deputy Higgins says this is not an "isolated incident".

Unfortunately, what has happened to Mr Alwitry is not an isolated incident in which States employees have been badly treated by Ministers, civil servants and the States Employment Board.

Over the last eight years we have witnessed the way in which Mr John Day, the former Consultant Obstetrician at the hospital; Mr Simon Bellwood, a former social worker in the employ of the Health and Social Services Department; and Mr Graham Power, the former Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police were appallingly treated and denied natural justice.

– Deputy Higgins

Since his dismissal, a number of investigations have been launched into what actually happened to the eye surgeon.

In July 2016, the States of Jersey Complaints Board (SCB) said Mr Alwitry should get compensation due to his "appallingly shabby" treatment by the States.

The damning report, published on the States website, said his dismissal represented "introspective and poor decision-making by a small group of senior public officials".

But, The States Employment Board, which is lead by the Chief Minister, rejected these findings and hit back at the complaints board.

This was followed by another SCB report criticising the States Employment Board for its rebuttal.

The vote of no confidence claims the complicated to-and-fro "denigrated" the work of the Jersey Complaints Board who investigated the incident with "integrity".

Credit: ITV News

Deputy Higgins believes the only way lessons will really be learned is if the States send out a strong message of disapproval to those ministers in charge.

Ministers have time and again promised that lessons have been learned, that processes have been changed, and that States' employees will be treated fairly in future, only to have other equally bad cases rear their heads within a very short time interval.

– Deputy Higgins

The vote of no confidence includes allegations against five senior Jersey politicians:

  • Senator Ian Gorst
  • Senator Alan Maclean
  • Senator Andrew Green
  • Constable Juliette Gallichan
  • Constable Michel Le Troquer

The vote of no confidence will be debated early next year.