The embattled president of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Akanni McDowall, whose leadership is under threat, has accused the union’s highest decision-making body of accepting a new Medicare plan without considering all the facts.
In a three-page letter dated May 20, 2016, signed by McDowall and submitted to the National Council last week, McDowall seeks to make it clear that at no time throughout the process, did he make any unilateral decision in relation to the plan.
However, he took the Council to task for going ahead and accepting Sagicor as the insurance provider and Capita as its broker without investigating all other available options. Barbados TODAY has received a copy of the letter in which McDowall also accuses the Council of shutting out alternative proposals from the new chairman of the NUPW’s Insurance Inc. board, Tyrone Lowe.
“On May 5, 2016, a special council meeting was convened and chaired by the first vice president [of NUPW] in the absence of the president, where Capita was given an opportunity to present their proposal before the council,” the president’s letter notes.
“Unfortunately, that equal opportunity was not afforded the chairman of the Insurance Inc. to present the board’s proposal and therefore could not fulfill the mandate as entrusted to them by the said council previously,” it adds. “As a result, the council made an ill-informed decision to accept Capita as the broker and Sagicor as the provider to carry NUPW’s insurance plan, ” he said.
McDowall also condemned the previous board of the NUPW Insurance Inc. for the role it played leading up to Insurance Corporation of Barbados [ICBL] terminating its coverage of the Medicare policy.
The President’s position on the plan, which is due to service the union’s 1,800 Medicare policyholders, has been cited as one of the main reasons for a no confidence motion that has tabled against him, with some union members currently accusing McDowall of, among other things, acting outside of his authority in seeking to overturn the National Council’s decision to accept Sagicor as the new insurance provider and Capita Financial as the broker for the NUPW’s medical plan.
McDowall has described the claims, including condemnation of his participation in last month’s Opposition march for justice, as “spurious”.