Saturday, September 30, 2023

Wells’ Driver and Personal Assistant Return Money As Honorarium Backlash Grows

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After facing public backlash, Health Minister Renward Wells said he has ordered his driver and personal assistant to return the payments issued to them for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a public statement, Wells said $1,158.40 was returned to the government.

Wells said he “made no recommendations as to who should receive an honorarium” but the recommendation was made by a select committee in the Ministry of Health.

Why it matters

Wells’ driver and personal assistant received an honorarium payout of $1158.40 issued for non-front line workers.

News circulated social media last week that the pair received payouts while healthcare workers waited to receive their honorarium payouts of $5000. Some healthcare workers have since ‘called in sick’ at the hospitals, in frustration that they were still awaiting the monies promised last year.

The big story

At the height of the pandemic, the government agreed to provide a $5,000 honorarium to frontline workers who provided care to COVID-19 patients from the onset of COVID, from March 19 to June 18; and a $100,000 life insurance policy if workers experience untimely death while serving.

It was an effort to attract a cadre of healthcare workers during the pandemic.

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