Davis says govt. must find right prescription for doctors
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis has labelled Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ meeting with a number of labour union heads at his office yesterday as nothing more than a “political exercise” and said the government should stop “paying lip service” and resolve the issues.
“I don’t get much comfort from that [meeting] because my report on what happened this morning is that it did not give much hope to those presidents, and whereas a lot of [unions] were engaged it is clear to many who were present that it was no more than a political exercise, to say well, I met with you,” said Davis, when contacted for comment.
“The question is what are the solutions being offered and how quickly those solutions can be implemented.”
Minnis met with representatives of both umbrella unions and around 30 of their affiliates.
He met separately with the Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA), which represents around 130 senior physicians.
Physicians ceased all public elective services last Tuesday citing failed negotiations with the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) over finances.
Outside the Office of the Prime Minister, several union leaders, including the CPSA, described the meeting with the prime minister as positive.
Others, however, characterized it as “just another meeting” and “another round of bureaucracy”.
The trade unions Eyewitness News interviewed also said they do not intend to avert plans to advance industrial action without a written commitment from the government or signed agreements.
“The [action] was initiated because we did not have an acceptable agreement,” CPSA President Dr. Locksley Munroe told reporters.
“The [action] shall end when we have an acceptable agreement.”
Yesterday, Davis said, “There is no doubt that the alarm must go off when we are dealing with an essential service such as healthcare and the challenge I have with what is now happening is that the government has just allowed it to fester and fester, to reach a point where it is now.
“… It is clear that the doctors and the service itself were being ignored and ignored.
“The protest that we see now is no doubt the sign to get the attention, and having had the attention now for quite some time, the government seems paralyzed to find the right prescription to ease the ailment of the doctors.
“This speaks to the government’s ineptness.”
Davis said patients who are ultimately impacted by the ongoing action are his greatest concern.
He urged the government to do what is necessary to find a resolution, and do it promptly.
“Find and deal with the issues and stop punting it down the road,” the PLP leader said.
“If you know what the problems are, address them and prescribe the medicine that is necessary to bring relief to the ailments of the doctors.”
The Bahamas Nurses Union will hold a strike vote today.
Nurses have rejected a new shift system imposed by the PHA.