PWU demands apology

Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith, Claudius Mitchell Prime Minister of Grenada
Prime Minister’s Ministry Ministerial Complex
Sir Eric Gairy Botanical Gardens Tanteen

October 2, 2018

Dear Hon. Prime Minister Mitchell,

Request for a Public Apology to Health Care Workers

The Executive of the Grenada Public Workers’ Union (GPWU) are aggrieved, disappointed and shocked over the statements that you made in the Town Hall Meeting in New York, labeling nurses, doctors, orderlies and security as “incompetent and thieves”. The GPWU and its membership view your pronouncement as unfortunate and extremely injurious.

The GPWU is therefore kindly requesting that you issue an apology, in the public domain with international impact, to all health care workers.

Health professionals play a central and critical role in improving access and quality health care for the population. They provide essential services that promote health, prevent diseases and deliver health care services to individuals, families and communities based on the primary health care approach (WHO 2018).

Health care workers are the most valuable asset to a nation’s economy. They sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty to provide quality health care services to citizens and visitors.

They spend sleepless nights and go the extra mile to save lives and protect our nation’s people. Therefore, they must be valued, appreciated and treated with respect.
Hon. Prime Minister, on careful analysis of your statements, the GPWU believes that the health care workers of Grenada were severely disrespected, tainted and humiliated. These extra-ordinary citizens, who provide selfless service to our beloved country of Grenada, reputations were tarnished nationally, regionally and internationally.

Further, the defamatory statements have resulted in an increased level of verbal disrespect from many of our citizens towards the health care professionals. At the moment, many of our health care professionals are deeply hurt, demoralized, demotivated, and are experiencing an increased level of psychological stress.

In addition, the pronouncements threaten the economical and national security of our noble country, since many Grenadian citizens locally and in the diaspora, friendly regional and international governments and citizens, and donor agencies may refuse to donate financial and material resources, for fear that it would be stolen by our health care workers and not used for the benefits of the health care consumers.

Honourable Prime Minister the fact that you have referred to health care workers as incompetent may also have far reaching effects on the relationship between nurses and doctors who offer mentorship/pre-ceptorship and supervision to the medical and nursing students of the only university on our island, St. George’s University. As this medical institution play a vital role socially and economically in our country.

GPWU therefore know that because you are a leader and a person of high ethical principles, values and standards you will recognize the negative implications of your statements.

The GPWU is therefore kindly requesting that you issue an apology, in the public domain with international impact, to all health care workers.

This apology will assist in the restoring of the public’s trust and confidence in our health care members. It will also play a vital role in the rebuilding of the health care workers self-esteem, self-image, self-­confidence and self-worth.

Further, it will allow the GPWU, its health care members and you, honourable Prime Minister, to move forward, building a positive relationship. It will enable cooperation, to address critical challenges, with health care leaders and administrators which are affecting the development of this industry. For us, these challenges include but are not limited to, a lack of human and material resources and the contract employment of members.

However, it will be remiss of the GPWU if we fail to point out that our Public Service is equipped with well documented rules and regulations to investigate and discipline any public officer who may be found guilty of theft. We therefore recommend that the proper disciplinary procedures be utilized to deal with and discipline any public officer found guilty of stealing.

With reference to the allegation of the health care workers being incompetent, GPWU wishes to suggest that the performance appraisal system should be utilized to measure the performance of public officers to determine and deal with any incompetence in the performance of their duties. The employer must also institute the relevant corrective measures to support the officer(s), either through training and development or coaching and mentorship to facilitate improved performance.

As the representative of health care workers GPWU is therefore willing to meet with you or representatives of the Ministry of Health to discuss these allegations as well as the challenges raised above and determine solutions to strengthen our health care system.

We are confident, Honourable Prime Minister, that because you are a true leader with astute leadership qualities and values, you will lead by example, and honour the fraternity of health care workers with an apology.

We are assured that with this level of humility, you will continue to earn the respect, trust and confidence nationally, regionally and internationally.

With our highest regard,

Rachel Roberts (Ms.) BSc, MIB, MBA

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