Rob Callister calls for clarity after sacking

Tuesday 22nd November 2022 5:07 am
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Rob Callister MHK ()

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Former health minister Rob Callister MHK has called for clarity from Chief Minister Alfred Cannan about the circumstances of his dismissal.

This comes after Mr Callister released an open letter to his constituents in Onchan, updating them on the situation.

When the Examiner asked him if the Chief Minister would discuss the decision, he said: ‘I’m as in the dark as everyone else.’

In the letter to his constituents, Mr Callister thanked everyone who contacted him over the weekend for their ‘very kind messages of support’.

He also said: ‘Manx politics is difficult, complex and harsh at times, but one thing is certain, everything we say and do is in the public domain.

‘I still feel the unfairness and unjustness of being sacked as the island’s health and social care minister.

‘Anyone that actually knows me would fully appreciate and understand that I have always admitted my own mistakes and I’ve always taken responsibility for my own actions, but on this occasion no details or evidence of my alleged failings have been provided.’

The former chair of the Manx Utilities Authority was sacked from the department on Thursday morning following an alleged threat of resignation to the Chief Minister by the department members.

Following the statement the department members put out last Thursday, he said: ‘I’m happy to go on the record to say that the short statement is a very clever play on words.’

The statement from the members stated that they ‘play no part in hiring and firing’.

Mr Callister said: ‘Of course no Tynwald member has the power to hire or fire; but a group of Tynwald members certainly has the power to give a chief minister an ultimatum, which is what actually happened here.’

Mr Callister is now awaiting Chief Minister Cannan’s response and elaboration on the reasons behind Mr Callister’s departure.

In the statement that announced the minister’s sacking, Mr Cannan said: ‘After a number of discussions in recent days on these operational and political challenges, I have reluctantly concluded that the DHSC needs a different approach at this critical juncture.’

In his letter, Mr Callister also commented on the situation the chief minister was put in and the members’ behaviour.

He said: ‘In my opinion the chief minister was put in an impossible position of having to choose between them or me.

‘I know he did everything he could to try and resolve the situation, but the members were unwilling to compromise.

‘I believe they didn’t understand or appreciate the complexity of a department that was understaffed, under-resourced and under extreme pressure for long periods of time.’

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