(Trinidad Express) Government Minister Verna St Rose Greaves yesterday said she was sorry an employee from her ministry was forcibly taken to the St Ann’s Hospital.
However, she said whatever action was taken was done out of concern for the employee—Cheryl Miller—and her colleagues at the ministry.
Two weeks ago, Miller was forcibly taken from her office at the Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, to the St Ann’s Hospital—where she remains warded to date—without consultation from her family members.
Speaking to the media yesterday outside the Senate Chamber, St Rose Greaves said she was sorry this matter “hit the public domain”.
“Whatever action was taken was, first and foremost, taken out of concern and care.
“People are suggesting there was victimisation. I cannot imagine what reason we would have for trying to victimise her,” said St Rose-Greaves.
She stressed that her Ministry (Gender, Youth and Child Development) was a new one and there was a process of change which would bring about challenges.
“You have workers who are also suffering from issues of loss, of freedom, status. It’s a new place and we are treating with that,” said the Minister.
“Even Cheryl’s situation may have been as a result of the serious change because I don’t think people understand sometimes how those things can affect people, particularly if there’s some predisposition to that.”
St Rose Greaves said she cannot describe what was happening in terms of Miller. However, she was surprised by the turn of events.
She made an appeal to Miller’s family. “I will ask them however to please, in the middle of all of this, consider Cheryl and her well-being and to please seek the advice of the caregivers and the doctors before they do anything.”
Asked whether Miller was considered a threat to anyone in the workplace, she responded, “I would be foolhardy to even pronounce to say whether she was dangerous. What I would suggest, however, is that based on what transpired in the workplace, the persons who were in charge of the situation and the workers did not want any harm to come to her for her to harm herself or for anybody else.”
St Rose Greaves said although the decision to send Miller to St Ann’s was one taken by management, “I am the minister responsible for the ministry and the final responsibility will always have to be mine”.
“I want to stress again, whatever was done, I believe it was done out of concern and care for Cheryl. I know the issue of her rights has been raised and it is something that needs to be raised because we have vowed to take a human rights approach in our work at th e ministry,” she added.
“When we treating with right, we also have to talk about people’s right to have a better quality of life, a right to proper health care, a right to privacy and we must also treat with the issue of other workers’ rights in the workplace and how people feel safe and secure and so on,” said St Rose Greaves.
“As far as I am concerned, it was out of concern, it was out of care, and there was no sense of trying to victimise Cheryl for any reason. I cannot for the life of me imagine why we would want to victimise her,” she reiterated.