By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
THE University of the Bahamas’ Nursing School faculty is to relocate immediately from the Grosvenor Close Campus to make way for a temporary infectious disease unit to service a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 early next year.
The nursing school is to relocate to UB’s Oakes Field campus. The move has upset the Union for Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas which has complained the decision was made without consultation with UB which only informed the union at the very last minute.
UTEB president Daniel Thompson accused UB president Dr Rodney Smith and UB executives for “disregarding and disrespecting” the union as the bargaining agent by not communicating with it on this matter.
Several weeks ago, former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands warned that the country could face a possible fourth wave of COVID-19. Dr Sands said he was putting the Ministry of Health on guard not to be caught relaxed like it was when the Delta variant arrived on our shores.
“UB has met with the School of Nursing and Allied Health Services to discuss the relocation to Oakes Field campus,” Mr Thompson said. “UTEB was advised about the move only this morning. The move is immediate and faculty members have concerns about the need to house them in a common area to maintain the integrity of the school.”
“UTEB cautions UB to ensure the needs of its members and students are foremost during this relocation exercise.”
Concerned about his members after hearing of the move, and, according to him, no word from UB’s president or officials, Mr Thompson said he reached out to Dr Smith by email on Wednesday night.
“There has been no communication to UTEB, from UB, although Wednesday night I requested, by email, clarification of the same.”
What is most concerning is that UB President Dr Smith and his team continue to demonstrate disregard for the faculty bargaining agent, UTEB.
“Members are asked to stand by. Remember that the issue is UB’s failure to communicate with faculty representing UTEB. This just exemplifies UB’s modus operandi of disrespect toward unions thus causing unnecessary angst in the academy.
“UTEB has now been advised by President Smith of the need to use Grosvenor Close Campus as a temporary infectious disease unit venue for a potential fourth wave of COVID 19 in Spring 2022.”
The Bahamas School of Nursing opened in 1987 with a loan to improve technical/vocational institutions facilitated by the World Bank.
The actual construction of the facility was part of a larger project undertaken by the government of The Bahamas to expand the pool of vocational and technical expertise that was available within The Bahamas. It is located in Grosvenor Close which is adjacent to the Princess Margaret Hospital. It provides workshops, laboratories, and equipment to better prepare nursing students for the workforce.