“We said it would be up to $5,000, not that everyone would have gotten $5,000”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health Minister Renward Wells stressed yesterday that a long-promised honorarium was “not for every healthcare worker”, noting the government had allocated some $3 million for that payout.
Wells told reporters yesterday: “The honorarium was not for every healthcare worker. It was a gift from the government initially for those who worked directly on the frontlines in regards to COVID.
“The individuals chosen were done so by those who were the supervisors in the requite sectors of the healthcare sector, who would have put forth their members and would have said these are the persons on the frontline in regards to COVID-19.
“The government would have then issued the requisite compensation to these individuals.”
Wells added: “The head of sections, along with a committee inside the Ministry of Health, determined what each individual was entitled to. This was an incentive to try and incentivize the healthcare sector to come forward.
“We said it would be up to $5,000, not that everyone would have gotten $5,000. It could have been from $1,000 to $5,000.
“I understand the smallest amount some persons would have received would have been $1,000, but the government allocated some $3 million to that effort and all those who were designated by the care sector to be so entitled were given what was due them.”
During the 2021/2022 budget debate in June of this year, Wells had advised the general public that approval was given for the payout of $1,040,600 in honorarium and death benefits to a limited number of frontline nurses, physicians and medical service workers involved in the COVID-19 response for the period March 19 to June 19, 2020.
The minister of health, in his budget presentation, also advised that the government approved an additional $3 million in honorarium payments to compensate other healthcare workers “who later joined in the fight”.