GUYANA: Attorney General warns of criminal charges, dismissals if GPHC nurses continue industrial unrest

Nurses Protest outside GPHC

In the wake of a sick out by several nurses of the Georgetown Public Hospital for increased salaries and COVID-19 risk allowances, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall on Friday said COVID-19 patients could die and he warned the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) that if the industrial unrest continues people could be charged and workers could even be fired.

“Unless these protest actions cease immediately and the procedures outlined by the law are invoked, the Government will have no alternative but to consider certain options.     

“These include but not limited to, the institution of criminal charges, dismissal, termination of contracts of employment, suspension of the collective labor agreement with the GPSU and the suspension of the deduction of Union dues for and on behalf of the Union,” Mr. Nandlall told GPSU President Patrick Yarde in a letter.

So far the nurses have held four days of one hour to 90 minutes picketing exercises outside the GPHC. Similar protests have been held at other government-owned hospitals countrywide. On Friday night, at least 15 to 20 nurses reported sick. GPHC Chief Executive Officer, Retired Brigadier Lewis declined to say how many nurses were off the job, but he said “the GPHC continues to provide service to our patients despite the absence of some nurses.”

Mr. Yarde on Thursday said that if government does not respond positively to the union’s request for talks, nurses would embark on a full-scale strike from Tuesday. Reacting, the Attorney General said there is no evidence that the relevant steps under the Public Utility Undertakings and Public Health Services Arbitration Act have not been followed and that offenders could face up to two months imprisonment and a GYD$30,000 fine without following the relevant procedure. If the offence continues, the law states that the offenders will be charged at least GYD$1,000 for every day of the violation. He noted that the Essential Services Act also applies in this industrial dispute.

The Attorney General cautioned that the industrial action at the time of the coronavirus pandemic could amount to a crime. “To violate this internationally recognize norm in industrial practice at a time when our nation and indeed world, is facing the worst pandemic in living history amounts to a most cruel, inhuman and unusual abdication of responsibility and may be viewed as conduct amounting to criminal negligence. That citizens may die as a result of the GPSU’s actions, cannot have escaped you,” he said.

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  • kamtanblog  On 10/04/2020 at 5:30 am

    This reminds me of the Thatcher v Scargill confrontation scenario. UK energy source
    was coal North Sea oil was to replace it as UK
    energy source. Oil won coal lost. Rest history.
    However this confrontation is more serious
    as lives not livelihood is at stake !
    Health workers should be balloted and if
    a majority decide on strike action then the
    democratic process upheld ! Timing of the
    strike action is of essence. Post or peak ..
    CorV pandemic. One life lost is too many.
    Certainly not time for “confrontations”
    In my opinion


  • Dennis Albert  On 10/04/2020 at 2:23 pm

    Look at the demographics of the protesters, and the demographics of those who are against the protest. I hope that it is just a co-incidence.

  • the only  On 10/04/2020 at 4:45 pm

    People have to look after themselves in this pandemic, dont blame the front line workers or anyone else.

    • kamtanblog  On 10/04/2020 at 5:23 pm

      Self preservation !
      Human nature …behaviour !
      It’s their employers responsibility to
      provide them tools to do their job…
      also health and safety at work.

      Health workers are not soldiers or security
      forces….they save lives not destroy it !
      Doctors hypocritical oath !

      Hope this matter is resolved ASAP

      • Voice of Reason  On 10/05/2020 at 9:31 am

        Front line Health Care Workers should also be paid appropriately for risking their lives on a daily basis. I don’t think that asking for an increased pay in salary is an unreasonable request. The government need to put down the BIG STICK attitude or else they will find themselves having to deal with a situation that can easily become volatile.

  • Winston Yaw  On 10/09/2020 at 8:27 pm

    Pay the bloody nurses and give them the toolst to work with. Your family members mayneed them later. You and the two brother thieves will use taxpayer dollars to hire private doctors.

  • Dennis Albert  On 10/09/2020 at 10:57 pm

    The situation is already volatile. Wages are not keepig up with the actual cost of living. $80,000 a month doesn’t afford rent in the housing schemes these days. Foreigners are renting out rooms at Diamond Housing scheme for over $100,000 a month to the foreign nationals. How can the locals keep up? House price gone crazy here. Even the American-Guyanese wonder how land price more dear than in Florida with a similar tropical climate, but a salary that is five times higher. House lot in Region 3 and 5 going up too. Wages have to go up because land nuh cheap anymore. Guyana coast land more dear than land in Florida.
    $100 million dollar for house in Diamond housing scheme, and $50 million dollar for house in Parika.

    • kamtanblog  On 10/10/2020 at 4:59 am

      Simple Simon says

      Affordable homes !
      Loveable wage !

      Way forward.

      Have just erected a Summer House in
      my back garden. Flat pack, DIY, 6 hours
      to assemble …all wood !
      Total cost £549 + 6 hours !
      Ordered on line
      Delivered to my home “free”

      It’s not rocket science

      My consultation home for the homeless
      in my town Crawley UK.
      It is my local authority/govt responsibility
      to house the “homeless” sleeping in shop
      fronts in town centre !
      As a taxpayer it is my responsibility how my
      local tax is spent/wasted.
      Have already “confronted” my local MP
      over the issue. Will be filming/interviewing
      all those sleeping rough in town centre on
      my next visit and sharing over social/MSM media….until this situation improve/reduce or
      As individuals we must be more “pro-active”
      today holding the jackasses we elect
      accountable/totally transparent.
      No part politricks

      Off my soap box

      Kamtan uk-ex-EU
      Move city of GT further upriver nearer CJA
      on higher ground as per Brazillia

      • kamtanblog  On 10/10/2020 at 5:00 am

        Loveable and liveable wage….
        Way forward !


      • dennis albert  On 10/10/2020 at 1:30 pm

        Thing is the house lots at Diamond, Parika, Zeelught, Tushchen and Parfait Harmonie were intended for the average working Guyanese, but somehow the houses get resold for more than houses in Tampa Bay or Orlando. The PPP members used to resell their houses for millions of Yankee USD to foreign nationals.

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