Nurses satisfied with protest action, to meet with union Tuesday

Nurses protesting outside Prevo Cinemall on Friday, March 29

The Dominica Nurses Association (DNA) is satisfied that its five-day “positive practice environment campaign” which ended on Friday, March 29, has been successful in getting its message out.

From Monday March 25, the nurses gathered each day, at a different venue in Roseau to draw attention to what they describe as poor working conditions of nurses on island.

DNA president, Nurse Rosie Felix said their message has been heard in Dominica and outside of the country.

“The message has reached home; it has reached outside of home. It’s been a while since DNA has done any such protest but we are just pressing on the point,” she said.  “As to if they are going to respond, we don’t know because we have been ignored in the past, but we were putting [it] on the record for the Dominican people to see. We doing it public so people will also see how desperate we are for interventions in our working environment.”

Nurses at the start of the campaign outside government headquarters on Monday, March 25

Felix wants the Dominica Public Service Union (PSU), the union that represents nurses, to take their case further.

“We expect the union to take our cause further. The union had a face-to face meeting with the minister. He (PSU General Secretary, Thomas Letang) also wrote,” she revealed. “About two months ago, he wrote the permanent secretary of health asking for an update and the response he got was ‘your letter is acknowledged’.”

The DNA president said members of the association will meet with the PSU on Tuesday, April 2nd. 

An  open letter sent by the DNA to the minister for health, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, recently, contains a list of 28 questions seeking his response on issues such as unsatisfactory pay for nurses, violence against nurses in the workplace compounded by security concerns at the PMH and Reginald Fitzroy Armour Hospital and workplace bullying, among several other concerns.

In an interview with DNO on Friday, Felix highlighted the poor working environment at some health centres around the island.  

“The Psychiatric Unit is being refurbished and nurses and patients are exposed to dust and noise. The Newtown Health Centre is in a container in the Roseau Health Centre [with] little space.. crowded for over a year. The Marigot Health Centre is closed down; Wesley Health Centre is in a crowded space themselves,” the DNA president complained.

She said the Mahaut, Vieille Case and Castle Bruce health centres are also in poor working condition.

Nurses protesting in Roseau on Wednesday, March 27

Questioned about what some have described as a poor turn out by nurses at the protests, Felix said she is “very satisfied” by the level of participation from the nurses but stressed the victimization that they face.  

“Many people want to see the hospital shutdown and all the nurses here. No! We are about giving care; that’s our mission. So, we are not shutting down hospital on nobody account. Everyday the nurses who are off are coming and every day for the week, new nurses are showing up. I’m very encouraged,” she stated.

“It tells me that the nurses are defying this victimization thing,” she added. “In any case, those who are showing up – they are victimizing them; those who are not showing up are still being victimized. Members on the executive of the nurses association are being victimized and I want the minister to look into that and stop it. I’m fed up of it.”

On Friday, DNO attempted to contact Health Minister Darroux for comment on the matter but we were told that both he and the permanent secretary were out of state.

According to media reports, he has said that he plans to hold a press conference soon to address the matter.

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11 Comments

  1. Joseph John
    April 3, 2019

    I just want to know if the nurses group are a trade union . have they been given an instrument of recognition to negotiate for government employees ?As far as I understand the CSA have been given the mandate by the government to represent all civil servants (except the police) in matters of negotiations for working conditions.

  2. carlty
    April 2, 2019

    I sincerely support the nurses’ concerns and join in a call for it to be continuously addressed because one cannot deny that there are steps being taken to address the health sector specifically in terms of infrastructure. However, I am irritated to see, however, concerns of development for our country is being contorted and corrupted into a web of political games and partisanship agendas. The reason why endeavours such as these are not supported is simple; Persons wonder of there concerns will be exploited for political gains as well as persons do not see every issue that the countries face as necessarily an anti-government or rather an anti-Skerrit rally.

    • D Mansfield
      April 4, 2019

      You have your on mind and if you choose to support a corrupt dictator, just go ahead. Doesn’t say much for your character though. Let’s talk after the next election again, I’m sure you have changed your mind by then!

  3. April 1, 2019

    A dam shame Nurses have to go through this,,,, And for a True Dominican and family person to be against this nurses today,,,, And defends the pm and people who stand against the nurses is downright Evil,, malicious,, no heart of a person,,,, i read a comment under a post saying,,, “the nurses want to protest now… it makes nomsense because they have so much attitude and lazy etc,,,, i lolololololol,,,,, because Not putting aside the attitude of some nurses,,, but in ever institution we go,, we encounter some persons or persons with attitudes which is wrong,,,,, But my question would be Are the conditions that the nurses are working in is comfortable , Suitable, functionable and capable for them to domtheir jobs effectively ,,, NOOOO its not…… so when you getba bad attitude from a nurse ,,,, remember that first before allu wicked people talk….. And u people that Love Allu pm so much ,,, pray to God u or your Family dont end up in it,,, make sure allu have health insurance

  4. Massacre
    April 1, 2019

    Alass alass , where in the world do we see nurses so badly treated and still showing up for work? Even police was sent to curb there movements last week.. This Government clearly does not have the passion to develop the Dominican health system. And I want to say that it is not only in Marigot and other UWP strong hold areas that are suffering but the entire country , even in Skerro constituency the heath care is poor. St.Joe and Laplaine is same thing.
    The fact the there is no hospital nearest to our main airport is a threat to our national security. It is time for change!

  5. Ross Barkeley
    April 1, 2019

    These nurse wanted to meet the minister but didn’t even asked if he was in office. Let it be known the both the minister and PS was out of state. That one man union u guys taking advice from? Sad.

    • Watching
      April 1, 2019

      Excuses excuse…like is now they have been asking.. Duh. Good excuse they out of state? U just like them. U know how long the have been pleading so will and come again poor excuse

    • Bee
      April 1, 2019

      … and this changes what? Based on your response it seemed like they have been out of state for the last 3 years.

  6. %
    April 1, 2019

    I am in solidarity with you all…!!!
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

  7. Ibo France
    April 1, 2019

    Nothing should be more important to a government than the Security and Health of its people. These two (health & security) should be of the highest priority at all times. Nurses are the heart and soul of the healthcare system. They are on the frontlines of restoring the infirm back to good health. The treatment meted out to these LIFE SAVERS, convincingly shows, leaves absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the Skerrit-DLP-led regime is callous and cold-blooded.

  8. Zammm
    April 1, 2019

    It doesn’t matter the numbers , you nurses must keep on fighting for the just cause and proper health care… Most Dominicans just sit and talk labour not realizing that this Government is not for Dominicans but for foreigners who come here and play mas. Just look at their deals with China, China calls the shots n poor Skerritt can’t talk. That’s when a man puts material things and money over values. Nurse stand firm.You all got local, regional n international suport. The world is watching

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