Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux is questioning the motives of those highlighting the problems of nurses, saying they are trying “to rile up nurses” in Dominica.
He spoke on the matter at a press conference on Tuesday.
“So I think we now have to ask the question as to what is the motive of the forces or the parties out there, not political parties, well could be, at this juncture, what is the motive of they trying to rile up nurses,” he said.
Statistics show that a number of nurses left Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, sparking concerns that this might have an effect on health delivery on the island. Even Darroux himself said on a radio program that the nursing service was “fast nearing critical levels.”
Organizations such as the Dominica Nurses Association (DNA) has been highlighting the issue and has called on the government to save what it described as a collapsing nursing service. The organization recently said that Hurricane Maria was not the reason why nurses are leaving Dominica in droves but it was “only the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
But according to Darroux, Dominica is at a point in its history where it is recovering from a category five hurricane in which 275 percent of the GDP was destroyed.
He said he has no problems with nurses asking, for example, for salary increase and other things, but he believes the timing is wrong.
“So I think the timing of this is wrong and as I said, I daresay it begs to ask the question as to what are the motives behind some of these calls,” he stated.
He stated that the Ministry of Health met with nurses long before the DNA “started their campaign” and commitments were made to increase their allowances.
Darroux also thanked nurses who stayed after Maria and decried those who “abandoned” and “trampled on” Dominica when they were needed the most.
“I would like to thank those who decided to stay, those who have been left or who have no intention of leaving,” he stated. “I think that they will be recorded in the annals of history of having remained in the country to serve at the time when their country needed them the most and the opposite is true and I hope we draw attention to those who chose to abandon their country, in some case trample on their country, at a juncture in our history when the country needed them the most.”