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Summerhaven chairman effectively removed

Summerhaven home for the physically challenged (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

John Powell, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Summerhaven home for the physically challenged, has been effectively deposed by the appointment of a receiver for the facility, The Royal Gazette understands.

While trustees technically retain their titles, the installation on Friday of the Bermuda Government MP Susan Jackson as receiver does away with all the board’s decision-making capabilities, closing a troubled era for Summerhaven, which has been rocked by allegations of mismanagement.

Ms Jackson held her first meeting yesterday with residents, which Summerhaven co-ordinator Yolanda Dowling said “went very well”.

“I’m happy with the change — residents said she was very open with them, answered all their questions and listened to them,” Ms Dowling said. “I really feel that finally the residents’ needs will be met.”

Ms Jackson said she intended to start regular meetings with tenants at Summerhaven, where the Ministry of Health and Seniors stepped in last month to appoint administrators after months of increasingly public rancour over the treatment of residents.

“A big piece to the puzzle is the overall structure of Summerhaven,” Ms Jackson said. “It’s a matter of defining the model of independent versus assisted living in a regulated residential facility. What does that look like? We have not seen that in Bermuda before, but we are going to find a way.”

She said she has been “building a relationship with residents since October”.

“It’s critical that we as members of a caring community are able to provide quality of life. There are certain standards that have to be abided by and that’s the first responsibility — to ensure that residents are receiving that standard.” Residents have also called for the reinstatement of Don Ricardo Wynn, an administrator who was abruptly fired from Summerhaven in October.

However, Mr Wynn said yesterday that he had yet to hear whether he would be brought back to the facility.

“Nobody has talked to me, and that’s the part that frustrates me,” he said. “I have a slew of projects that I was in the middle of. I have benefactors that were interested in helping Summerhaven, who have been calling me, asking if I am going to be back, and I don’t know. It’s an illogical way to treat somebody who was acting in the residents’ best interests.”