Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2015 Contents RADHICA SOOKRAJ
Thousands of nurses and
auxiliary staff employed with
Regional Health Authorities are
threatening protest action if they
do not get their promised wage
Vice-chairman of T&T Registered
Nurses Association Kern Ramnath
said on Tuesday that nurses have
lost enthusiasm to work because of
deplorable work conditions and poor
"They are quite demotivated.
Over the past few months we have
had numerous concerns about
security. We complained and all
they did was change the security
company. We still do not have
surveillance cameras," Ram-
He said that several private
vehicles belonging to nurses
have been broken into while
parked in the compound of
the Couva Extended Care
"The security is unhelp-
ful and they are saying they
are not here to protect the
staff. We have wards which
are open to thoroughfare
and we have people who
sometimes come in here
with gunshot wounds. We
do not believe that staff or
patients are safe," Ramnath said.
He said the hospital had no nurses
"The nurses have nowhere to change
their clothes and they have to change
in the toilets," Ramnath said. He said
that the RHA staff were not unionised
but were still open to get the benefits
negotiated by the Public Service Asso-
Since negotiations closed earlier this
year with a 14 per cent increase, Ram-
nath said the RHA staff have not
received any wage increase.
Over 10,000 auxiliary staff and
between 2,500 to 3,000 RHA nurses
are affected," Ramnath said. He said
staff have since engaged in industrial
"We are not on a sick-out or a go
slow but we are not going beyond the
call of duty. We are not putting patients
at risk either but we will meet to take
further action," Ramnath said.
In response, chief executive officer
of the South West Regional Health
Authority Anil Gosine said the 14 per
cent wage increase negotiated by the
PSA had not filtered down to RHA
staff because it had not been sorted
out by the Health Ministry.
"We are awaiting directives from
the ministry on that. They have to
determine where the monies are com-
ing from and give us a directive. So
far we have no further information,"
He also said he was unaware of the
security breaches at the Couva facility
but intended to investigate.
If the West Indies has to be globally com-
petitive, higher education must be reconfigured
to include greater investment in innovation.
So said Guyanese President David Granger
during the opening of the University of the
West Indies $500 million law campus at M2
Ring Road, Debe, last week.
The campus, which met strong criticism
from the Opposition People s National
Movement, during its conceptualisation,
was declared open by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Tertiary Edu-
cation Minister Fazal Karim and
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Mooni-
lal.Built on 172 acres of land, it includes the
Faculty of Law, a moot court building,
campus library, academic building, halls
of residence, student union building,
recreational facilities, security services
buildings and guard booths as well as a
sewer treatment plant.
Granger said the West Indies had three
important tasks if it had to be compet-
itive. He said higher education was the
driving force behind those tasks.
"Higher education has to help to build
an economy that is more resilient than
the one we inherited from the planters
and landlords from the old mercantile
"We have to build more cohesive soci-
eties in which people are educated to
suppress the outdated social and class
differences. Our societies must eliminate
inequalities and eradicate extreme
"We have to build a more inclusive political
system where people can be empowered to par-
ticipate fully in locally and democratic organ-
isations in which they can feel confident in their
elected officials and representatives," he added.
He said higher education was no longer for
the privileged class.
"It functions best when inequality can be
removed, when access can be improved and
when an increasing number of people are pre-
pared," Granger said.
Explaining that the Caribbean must become
more innovative, he added: "We are blessed with
sufficient talent and resources to ensure a good
life. We need not be poor, ignorant or suffer
from debilitating lifestyles diseases or be victims
of crime. We can do better."
He said higher education in the Caribbean
must be reconfigured to support greater invest-
ment in innovation, architecture, agriculture,
culture, manufacturing, engineering, medicine,
science and business.
UWI s campus principal Professor Clement
Sankat promised that law would not be the only
discipline being taught at the campus.
"Our South Campus has the infrastructure
and capacity to host programmes from all fac-
ulties. I expect the faculty of Humanities and
Education, Social Sciences, Engineering to have
a presence here," Sankat said.
He said the campus would also house the
Roytec school and hopefully the UWI Arthur
Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.
Sankat said there was a pressing need for T&T
and the wider Caribbean to imagine a shared
future so that the region could become globally
no longer for
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 6, 2015
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