An unrelenting T&T Registered Nurses’ Association (TTRNA) president Idi Stewart said yesterday they are ready to riot if that’s what it takes to ensure health care workers receive all outstanding monies and benefits. Taking their protest to the entrance of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, Stewart reiterated that if by July 1 Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh fails to meet with them there will be a mass demonstration from Queens Park Savannah to the Ministry’s head office.
This, he said, will be followed by nurses and midwives embarking on vacation leave. Stewart then went to the Point Fortin District Hospital for led a similar one-hour protest with health care workers.
Although North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) CEO Davlin Thomas announced that all health workers would be paid outstanding increments in the coming weeks, Stewart said that was not sufficient to put an end to their protests.
“We want to let him know even though the Minister of Finance came and save NCHRA for their years of failure to pay nurses and midwives and other health care workers all increments, all gratuity payments, the other RHAs are waiting, the staff in other RHAs are waiting. So that is why we are saying 100 per cent could never be enough because that is a hundred per cent for one RHA…”
He said more than two months ago they sent a proposal on behalf of nurses and midwives for health insurance, a death benefit if they die in the line of duty and a hazard allowance, but to date, all they received was an acknowledgement from the permanent.
He added that it was unfortunate that they found money to pay workers only after they engaged in mass demonstrations.
“Are you always going to say and I guess the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert stated that we will keep holding back basically until persons come out and demonstrate. I ent see nobody demonstrating so monies will not be paid. As long as people riot people will they then start being paid so if is riot you want is riot you will get.”
Other issues they want to raise with the minister in the requested meeting are permanent employment, student nurses stipend, vehicles being used to transport patients without the required ambulance license, and the non-involvement of nurses and midwives at the decision table.
“We will not relent. We will not waver. We have no fear, we have no favour from any political party or any person…” he added.