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PSA President Watson Duke speaks with the media during a press conference where he spoke on various topics at the PSA Headquarters, Abercrmby Street,Port-of-Spain

There should be more privileges offered to frontline healthcare workers and those deemed essential workers by the government during the pandemic according to the Public Service Association (PSA) head Watson Duke.

In a live broadcast on the PSA’s Facebook page yesterday, Duke said these workers should automatically jump any queue to receive healthcare treatment because “it’s time allyuh respect essential workers in this country.”

He also called for a one million dollar payment to the relatives of any frontline healthcare worker who dies while on “active duty.”

“In the RHAs (Regional Health Authorities) persons are complaining. They are complaining in the lab, they are complaining in the engineering department. In all the RHAs the nurses are complaining, the wards maids are complaining, the attendants are complaining people are becoming infected and there is no front of the line treatment for frontline workers,” Duke said.

“Whether you are a healthcare worker, whether you’re a police worker, army, WASA worker, any worker that is now deemed an essential worker once you out working and you not feeling well—front of the line for you.”

Duke also called for a $1 million payment to relatives of frontline healthcare workers who have died “during active duty.”

“Any person in healthcare who have died in active duty should be given $1 million. We have had that conversation with the Minister of Health. We had that conversation last year…with him and all the CEOs of North West Regional Health Authority saying to them, organise a life insurance policy for all healthcare workers for $1 million should in case they become infected in the line of duty they should be given that,” he said.

During the pandemic, he also called for all healthcare workers to be afforded an additional month of vacation for every three months worked.

“So from March last year to March this year, those workers in the RHA—all of those workers who have been working non-stop—you are entitled to four months additional leave apart from your one month leave,” he said.