Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 21st 2015 Contents A7
Saturday, February 21, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The T&T Meteorological Service has issued a
rough seas bulletin, advising sea bathers and marine
interests that sea conditions would be moderate to
rough this weekend.
The bulletin which was posted by the Met Office
yesterday said waves were 2.5 to three metres along
the exposed coastlines and were forecast to be in
Possible protest at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital was
avoided yesterday after an agree-
ment between the Public Service
Association (PSA) and the South
West Regional Health Authority
(SWRHA) which now allows staff
to be paid overtime wages.
Nurses, nursing assistants, ward
maids and engineering workers left
their posts during the morning shift
and crowded the eighth floor of
the San Fernando Teaching Hospital
where PSA president Watson Duke
and SWRHA CEO Anil Gosine were
locked in a meeting.
Speaking after, Duke said workers
had planned to take action against
the hospital after administrators
did not address issues, such as the
non-payment of overtime, which
were brought up last month.
Claiming victory yesterday, he
said workers would not only be
paid overtime for extra hours
worked but shift workers would be
given two days off after working a
shift. Eight-hour shifts would be
worked opposed to 12-hour shifts.
Workers would also be paid shift
bonuses and retroactive payments
for working on off days for the past
five years, he said. Duke added that
everything should be put in writing
by Monday and paves the way for
the PSA to begin negotiating for a
collective agreement, the first ever
in the RHA s history.
Commending Gosine for the
agreement, Duke said: "We reckon
the CEO to be a good man but like
(Barbadian hip hop artiste) Rihanna,
he could be a good boy, gone bad.
"You know good girl gone bad,
we can have a situation like that
here. That is the same thing with
Ameena (Ali) too, she was good girl
gone bad. We are hoping that the
CEO does not change and we are
expecting to have all of this in writ-
ing by Monday.
"We have numerous support
from the nursing fraternity and we
will be mobilising all the rest of
RHAs to continue discussions.
"These discussions will be new
because for the very first time we
expect to have a collective agree-
ment for the entire South West
RHA and that also will eventually
work itself out for the Eastern RHA,
North Central RHA, North West
and Tobago Regional Health
While work would continue as
normal, Duke warned that all was
still not well as the issue of an out-
standing fire certificate was yet to
be dealt with. He accused the
SWRHA of "monkeying" around
with the issue and warned that
workers could refuse to work under
However, he said, they would
continue to work in good faith,
hoping that the certificate will be
Protest halted at Sando hospital
PSA settles wage dispute so...
PSA president Watson Duke celebrates with staff outside the San Fernando Teaching Hospital yesterday after
successfully negotiating with the South West Regional Health Authority for the payment of overtime and shift
bonuses, which he said had not been paid for over 30 years. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
...Workers back on
the job in Grande
Operations are almost back to normal as the
Sangre Grande District Hospital following the
resignation of Ameena Ali, former CEO of the
Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA).
For the past few weeks the hospital was upended
by protest action from the nurses and other health
care workers who were camped out in a tent outside
the car park.
Violations to the Occupational Health and Safety
Act (OSHA) and a dispute with Ali were among
the grievances the workers had.
A health care provider in the hospital, who
asked not to be identified, said now that Ali had
resigned things were "a lot better" in the hospi-
"Everybody is back to work. The place is feeling
lighter. Nobody is insulting us. Nobody is intim-
idating us. The hospital is a lot better place to
work. We still have OSHA violations to think about
but we are all willing to work again," the worker
Ali resigned last Saturday t following weeks of
protest by workers.
The worker told the T&T Guardian though all
the nurses and other health care workers were
back in the hospital, they were still under "protest
mode" because of the violations to the OSH Act.
The OSHA violations include fire safety violations.
"We are performing our duties. We are making
sure that patients get their stuff but we are just
going a little slow," the worker said.
PSA president Watson Duke filed a criminal
charge against Health Minister, Dr Fuad Khan,
ERHA chairman Stephen Bhaggan and Ali stating
they failed to provide a fire certificate. The charge
is based on Section 26 of the OSH Act.
Rough seas this weekend
Met Service advisory:
excess of three metres at times.
"This is attributed to relatively strong
winds in the lower levels of the atmos-
phere. These strong winds are currently
agitating surfaces of the Atlantic Ocean
and Caribbean Sea.
"Numerical Weather Prediction
(NWP) models forecast similar condi-
tions for at least the next 48 hours with
wave heights in open waters reaching
2.5 to three metres near-shore for both
islands but occasionally reaching in
excess of three metres offshore for the
north-east exposed coasts of T&T," the
It added that NWP models suggested
a further increase in wave heights early
next week particularly for the north-
eastern coasts of Tobago. As such, rough
seas will persist and seas in open waters
of T&T will continue to be affected for
at least the next 48 to 72 hours.
"Although wave heights in sheltered
areas are below 1 metre, seas can become
choppy at times. Additionally, conditions
may become aggravated during high
tides," the bulletin said.
It added that rough seas may lead to
dangerous marine conditions, which
would include disruption to sea bathing
and sea travel by small crafts, as well
as fishing boats.
Fisherfolks and those living along the
coast are warned of the possible occur-
rence of big waves. Citizens, especially
those residing along coastal areas are
advised to be on the alert for above nor-
mal sea conditions.
Executive officer of the T&T Blind
Welfare Association Kenneth Sur-
ratt said plans are on the way to
re-open the School for the Blind.
The school located at Paxvale,
Santa Cruz was closed displacing
around 18 blind and visually-
impaired children since September
In a phone interview, Surratt said
he met with the officials from the
Ministry of Education yesterday.
An official from the ministry, who
refused to be named said they were
aware that there was a list with 13
electrical related issues. "They (min-
istry representatives) said the work
will be done to get the certificate
from Fire Services. Hopefully the
school will be opened but I like to
see results," he said. He said the roof,
the air-condition, the windows, fans,
the floors were tiled, walls painted,
doors changed, alarm and PA system
were replaced since the school was
closed last year.
School for blind to re-open
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