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– slam Anthony for trying to shutdown their protest
Scores of Linden nurses on Thursday, continued to protest over the issue of their risk allowance not being paid and the response made by Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony to not take their grievances to the streets and that their decision to do so was unfortunate.
Dr. Anthony made those comments on a Department of Information (DPI) programme. 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.
The nurses said it was rather unfortunate that he did not understand their frustration and that the $150 M, he claims will wipe their problems away, is just “chicken feed. “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.
Anthony said that as soon as the budget is passed on Friday, the money will be made available. 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 promises,” Dr. Anthony said.
While Dr. Anthony only addressed the issue of risk allowance, the nurses were also protesting for better representation from the union, the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and a better organized transportation system.
They were supported by regional officials and the representative of the Guyana Public Service Union, Maurice Butters. They pledged to continue protesting until their voices are heard and tangible efforts are made.