Scores of Linden nurses on Thursday, joined their colleagues who staged a protest on Wednesday, demanding the issuance of risk allowance. The nurses made it vehemently clear that they will continue the protest, until the officials at the Ministry of Health understand their struggle.
They expressed anger at the comments made on Wednesday by Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, who said that they should not take their issue to the streets. On a Department of Information (DPI) programme, Anthony described the nurses’ decision to protest as unfortunate and said there really is no need to do that, since his Government would have made provisions for not only nurses but all front line workers. “We recognize the extra effort that health workers are putting in and in this budget, we have allocated $150 M for risk allowance……once the budget is passed we will have that money and soon as we get that money, we will be able to give nurses and other category of front line workers that risk allowance that we promised,” Anthony said.
He advised nurses to take their grievances to the Regional Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health before taking it to the streets. “We are here and we want to resolve issues and I don’t think those issues should be resolved on the streets….I hope that in the future, if nurses have any grievances, that they will employ the open door policy, that we have at the Ministry of Health,” Anthony posited.
This response however triggered the nurses who believe that the new administration has not allocated enough money for their needs. “What can $150 M do for nurses, for thousands of nurses across this country, tell me what really each nurse will get, that is chicken feed and we will continue to protest until we are compensated properly,” one nurse said.
The nurses said that their protest action is not directed to the management of the Linden Hospital Complex but the policy makers at the level of central government. They all chanted, “Essential workers, Essential Pay”, “No Money, No Work.” The nurses were joined by regional officials and the Region Ten representative of the Guyana Public Service Union, Maurice Butters.