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EDITORIAL: Wrong time for hospital staff to take action

THE hospitals are full of COVID patients, we are in the middle of a surge that has already seen us have the record number of cases in a single day… and hospital staff are choosing this moment to stage industrial action.

Whether they have a cause for complaint or not, this is hardly the time when all hands are needed on deck.

As one healthcare professional said after yesterday’s apparent sick-out, and with the prospect of an even wider stoppage today, “It’s going to be a long weekend.”

It is estimated that up to 200 workers did not show up to work yesterday. The reason? They are unhappy after not receiving honorariums.

Frontline workers had been promised their service at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic would be rewarded with the payment of an honorarium – and on Tuesday Health Minister Renward Wells said all those had now been paid. This left a number of workers looking at their pay packets and saying well, where’s our share?

But were they really entitled to such a payment in the first place? The decisions on who would get the honorariums were made by supervisors – so the quarrel shouldn’t be with the government, and certainly shouldn’t be affecting patients. You want to know why you weren’t picked? Ask your boss.

The aim of the payment was to reward those who stepped up when many were reluctant. If you weren’t one of those, you already know the answer over whether you should have the payment or not.

Meanwhile, hospitals were left to struggle on yesterday – the very opposite of stepping up to help. Not one worker showed up at the morgue yesterday at Princess Margaret Hospital. Any relative of someone who died yesterday will have no sympathy, we imagine, with people refusing to work while their loved one’s body remains unattended.

There appears to be some confusion over who gets to be classed as a frontline worker – and why – but surely this question has been raised before now.

This sounds like a combination of bad communication and people wanting a piece of the pie. Either way, this kind of action at this, the worst possible time for it to take place, is no way to win public support.

Transparency progress

In this column on Wednesday, we criticised the government for a lack of transparency. The Auditor General had asked for ownership details of the companies that received COVID-related contracts – and hadn’t received them.

It is only fair then that we praise the government – cautiously – for seemingly trying to remedy that.

The Attorney General, Carl Bethel, suggests that the rules were being followed correctly by the strict letter of the law, but that those regulations could change as early as today so that the right answers can indeed be given.

Whether it was an oversight, a loophole, or whatever the case, fixing it so that there is clarity is a good thing, and doing so with speed is commendable.

We will reserve our full praise, however, for when the job is done – and when the public can see who got the money, and whether it was all above board.

Progress, yes. Is the matter resolved? Not yet. Watch this space.

And let’s see what happens in a future Auditor General report – and if the auditor is able to share the information once he is given access, or whether the veil of secrecy remains for the public.

Comments

ohdrap4 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Reposting what I posted on Wednesday: **Nah. I think I smell the opportunity for favoritism and victimization.

" the raise is not auromatic', or ' the raise is not for everyone', or 'depends on your relationship with your supervisor'**

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ohdrap4 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This sounds like a combination of bad communication and people wanting a piece of the pie

Like the minister's drive and secretary. Why did they get paid?

Enough is enough. I side with the health wirkers this time

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ThisIsOurs 10 months, 2 weeks ago

There will never be a good time. Thats what theyre counting on. In this pandemic all kinds of money went places where it shouldnt have gone apparently. These people actually deserved payment.

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Greentea 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I was livid when I heard Wells describe these payments as a "gift". This is a travesty. A "gift" using tax payers money? Wells need to GTFOH. If the people who were the heroes and sheroes on the frontlines got "gifts" then the hospital should still be able to operate. The fact that it cant means that the people holding the fort didnt receive anything. What a joke. Renward Wells needs to be FIRED!.

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licks2 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Why do they deserve payments?? Were you there when they did or did not agree to work? Their supervisors where asked to submit the names of persons who were on the "front lines". The names were submitted!! NAMES SUBMITTED WERE PAID!!

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JokeyJack 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"The aim of the payment was to reward those who stepped up when many were reluctant. If you weren’t one of those, you already know the answer over whether you should have the payment or not. Meanwhile, hospitals were left to struggle on yesterday – the very opposite of stepping up to help."

Right, so since they weren't stepping up before (accordingly not deserving any honour) - what difference does it make that they don't step up now. They are obviously worthless workers - so just continue to not pay them and don't benefit from their service. No problem. Fair is fair. If nobody wants them, then nobody should complain when they don't show up.

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Greentea 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So Wells allegedly "gifted" himself 10K. His driver- who is his cousin 5k and his secretary 5K? If this is true- and I have no doubt that it is- What a PoS!

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thephoenix562 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Its not true.The Driver and personal assistant received less than $1200 the Minister got nothing..

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licks2 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Therein is your problem. . ."IF THIS IS TRUE". . .you seem to believe any old thing. . .there is nothing that can be done for you. . .you are the type that politicians like. . .you will be easy to swing!! Now, don't get me wrong!! If this is true then Mr. Wells has some "spleenin" to do!!

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birdiestrachan 10 months, 2 weeks ago

AMAZING how the Editorial page of The Tribune can always find the FNM government right, when they are DEAD WRONG.

Will the Editorial page be so kind as to say what supervisor put Mr: Wells staff on the list.

When Mr: Christie had the ad "Strong Bahamas" there was so much backlash. The FNM gets none.

We can all take comfort that there is a JUST GOD>

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licks2 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This is why we can't "accept" at face value most of what we hear in public. . .especially in an election time!! One most sure way to know when something is nonsense. . .when birdie says it!! If any other news paper in this country put "cut hips" on the FNM government as does the tribune editorial that party will "only have loyal gravy trainers" blowing smoke up its tail!!

Anyway. . .the tribune will not resignate with persons like birdie. . .it must take a level of objectivity in mind to read and follow the tribune editorial. . .something birdie NEVER HAD!!!!

The tribune is never "all right". . .but it is "never all wrong" either!!! But what in life is?? Birdie go sit down. . .

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carltonr61 10 months, 2 weeks ago

We need the taliban PLP back in office.

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birdiestrachan 10 months, 2 weeks ago

After all, is said and done my sympathy is with the poor sick people.

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