Wells Commits to Payment for COVID Healthworkers
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Minister of Health Reward Wells said healthcare officials will be paid for the services that they gave during the onset of the pandemic, as promised by the government.
Why it matters
- The government promised voluntary payment to health workers who worked between March and June. They will receive–an honorarium of $5000. Family members of healthcare workers who lost their loved ones will receive $100,000.
- On Monday, the Bahamas Nurses Union said the government has until December 31st to pay them for their services. The union’s president Amancha Williams called the government “dishonest” as they have yet to receive the honorarium.
What Health Minister Renward Wells says
Renward Wells acknowledges the honorarium is still outstanding but promises the payment of the monies when the government is in a better position to do so.
- He says, “No one has gotten the honorary. No one has. Now what the gov of the Bahamas has also been doing is paying the overtime as a result of covid, in paying the nurses the overtime. The doctors, we are still looking at their overtime. And we’re looking for overtime for the support staff.”
- Wells adds, “We will pay the honorarium to those folks who qualify for the honorarium. It’s for everybody in the healthcare system. It was to encourage folks initially at the beginning of the pandemic who stepped forward and said, ‘Here am I Lord, send me.’ That is what it was.”
What BNU Amancha Wiliams says
Amancha Williams told the Tribune that the union wishes for better treatment from the government.
- “Our essential staff have worked and have sacrificed their families. Many of their family members were sick and some of them were sick. We have lost three nurses to COVID. These families have yet to hear anybody consult them on the insurance. The government has yet to speak to these families on their insurances. This looks terrible on the government.”
- Williams added, “You cannot treat healthcare workers like that. You cannot treat all the essential workers like this. If you couldn’t afford it, then come to the table and speak to the unions. We understand that this might be an economical problem, but you have not cut the salaries of the government ministers or the members of Parliament and you are still making sidewalks.