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Powell should resign – Blakeney

PLP MP Glenn Blakeney

The chairman of the Summerhaven home for the physically challenged came under attack during the Throne Speech debate in the House of Assembly, with one Member of Parliament calling repeatedly for his resignation.

Glenn Blakeney, the Shadow Minister of Environment and Infrastructure, took to the floor to decry what he alleged was mismanagement of the facility and mistreatment of residents.

Mr Blakeney said residents and some members of staff had described poor treatment at the facility, which stands on a South Shore property in Smith’s, along with intimidation of those who threatened to speak out.

Summerhaven houses 15 people, many of whom are severely challenged in their mobility. While the Progressive Labour Party MP did not name John Powell, the chairman of Summerhaven, he called for Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, to investigate the complaints, which he listed before MPs.

“I have a physically challenged son,” Mr Blakeney added. “Thank God I have the means for my wife and I to care for him, because we don’t have that level of support in our country to those who are challenged.”

Claiming the chairman appeared to have “friends in high places”, he added: “I am calling for the resignation or the termination of the chairman of Summerhaven.”

Telling MPs he was “firing a shot over the bow”, Mr Blakeney said the chairman should at least be suspended for an investigation into Summerhaven to go ahead.

Many of the concerns voiced by Mr Blakeney had been raised with Mr Powell in a June 2015 interview with The Royal Gazette, in which the chairman categorically denied any allegations of mistreatment.

In that interview, Mr Powell stressed Summerhaven’s status as an independent living facility where residents were free to order their own lives.

Saying that all complaints were brought to his attention, he added: “Every one is investigated. If they’re not happy with the outcome, they can take it to the board.”