The Muña-Castro issue is really about who is right and who is wrong. My mother in her wisdom taught me that, “two wrongs will never equal one right.” I am really feed up with the politics of the CNMI in the political arena and the politics of certain entities and institutions within the government. I even killed and buried my desire to even try and help anymore in the political arena because of the ugly politics and deceitfulness by politicians who have out-right lied to me. But I still haven’t given up on being active on other issues facing the CNMI even though there is still some form of politics involved be it “institutional politics or our social fabric.” The firing of Mr. Castro was the last straw for me with CHCC as I watched silently for a long time starting with the firing of Mr. Babauta, the Legislature taking of almost $39 million of CHCC’s budget when it became a corporation, and all the problems at CHCC that more recently caused the governor to want Muña removed and now I see why he wanted her removed.
I don’t think the governor should get involved in who will be the CHCC chief executive officer but I do think he should have a role in the process for determining “chief executive officer” even if it’s just a recommendation for or against a person which should carry some weight in the board’s decision. I must say that I am so thankful that KCHC board chair Velma Palacios said, “Muña has no authority to fire the executive director because he reports to the board.” It is starting to sound a lot like we have a dictatorship at CHCC with arrogance and vindictiveness being two of the choice modes of leadership. Mr. Castro has performed an extraordinary job of starting a clinic in Kagman and taking it to the point that it can be totally self-sufficient, which was truly the right thing to do and even great! He deserves merited recognition taking the clinic to next level of being self-sufficient not being fired.
This is truly an issue about accountability and if Mr. Castro did something wrong then some kind of reprimand may be considered and if Muña was out of place in firing him as it seems based on a board member then there is certainly a need address Muña’s actions. Muña even said “the CHCC management and the board of trustees support the center’s plan to operate independently” but not the process of doing it behind our back.” Mr. Castro is an excellent example of an independent thinker, which is what we teach children to be in order to be in control of their thoughts and even their destiny. But in the CNMI, there is too much of one having to be someone’s yes person in order to get ahead and don’t complain and for heaven’s sake do not go public with anything that can make the powers-that-be mad at you or you are out! I think it is clear this is more than likely what happened to Mr. Castro for going out on his own to make something great happen and Muña could not get any of the credit and learned about it in the news. I’m almost sure he didn’t even want to be bothered with her and her CHCC politics in his desire to make the Kagman clinic and even better place with its own budget that would no longer be subjected to CHCC’s politics.
There is a culture within every organization and this ridiculous claim of “protecting CHCC’s resources” is BS for the lack of a better term that exemplifies the culture in CHCC under Muña’s leadership. The resources at the clinic will continue to remain at the clinic and provide the same services and support they have been doing all along. If a transfer of some kind was needed then CHCC should have been glad to transfer these resources officially. Mr. Castro was not taking the resources to the mainland. I’m also sure the employees at the clinic are happy and have complete confidence in Mr. Castro to take care of them like he has since the clinic opened—ask the employees before pretending to be so concerned about their employment security. But the firing was a knee-jerk reaction show the true character and asking questions of true concern before taking actions was never considered. Furthermore, we already have a labor shortage of good professionals so finding someone who is qualified to even take Mr. Castro’s place may be a challenge. Maybe a yes person who is friend of a friend or family member that’s how it works.
Many citizens are also sick and tired of how CHCC services patients anyway when we have patients young and old not having a pillow or blanket, which are core basic things that a hospital should have for every patient. CHCC can’t even keep doctors as one doctor didn’t stay a week after seeing what he was getting into. But it gets even worse and I will talk about that in another opinion statement on why we can’t keep doctors and why the hospital is not improving like it should and the need to improve and expand the hospital and Medical Referral Program.
I will end with the words of one of my greatest mentors, Dr. King, who said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and it is clear that Muña has committed more than one wrong, which can never equal one right. Muña really threatens the expectations of justice and fairness everywhere under her leadership at CHCC, which is why I say maybe it’s time for Muña to go not Castro. Ms. Muña, this is not personal and I hope you can accept the fact that no one likes ugly and what happened to Mr. Castro was pure ugly and even evil with no appreciation for all the hard work and success that Mr. Castro has done. I respect and think you are a good person but we are all human and capable of mistakes and this firing is setting off alarm bells for me and many others in the wake of the governor’s fiasco over your own firing. Heck, I stopped using the family clinic at CHCC which actually has some great people but when one doctor who is Muña’s right-hand man figuratively told me in so many words that “I was on my own with my pain problem from my surgery and with the problem I was having with my feet” that was it for me—so go figure that. I had to go to Guam to get my pain medication and I am now extremely happy with my great Dr. E. at the Kagman clinic who even found a solution for my feet.
But the real questions about CHCC’s Leadership are what are the future plans for CHCC? Will it expand and grow with our needs, as it should such as building a cancer unit? Most importantly how will CHCC make sure the appropriate amount of funding will be secured to manifest the maintenance, welfare, and growth of CHCC? The CNMI spent $27 million to turn a dump into a park how much are our leaders willing to spend to bring our only hospital up to modern day standards, needs, and expectations? One people, one direction for a better CHCC and the reinstatement of Mr. Castro as he is one great guy that we should all be thankful for
Ambrose M. Bennett