Oct 21, 2020 News
– haven’t been paid for eight months
Kaieteur News – In excess of 100 persons were engaged earlier in the year as Region Six community health workers by the David Granger administration with no documentation to support their employment, according to Regional Chairman David Armogan.
It was during yesterday’s first statutory meeting of the newly installed Regional Democratic Council that APNU+AFC Councillor Shurla Scott announced that she was informed that staff from the Regional Hospital “will be placed on the breadline”. Scott disclosed that these “staff” were employed since April 2020 during the pandemic to “boost the staffing in the various categories at the hospital”.
According to Scott, “they are coming to the end of their contractual agreement (six months)” and she was told that they will be removed and replaced. She said those persons were trained and employed, and called for an investigation.
However, in addressing Scott’s concern, Armogan revealed that the persons Scott were referring to were in fact “taken on and not employed”. He disclosed that the over 100 community health workers were placed at locations doing screening, sanitizing et cetera but they never signed a contract, “never had an instrument to pay them and they have been working for the past eight months without pay.”.
Armogan stressed that the workers were taken on by the previous administration, which has left the current government to deal with the issue of people who worked for months not being paid for the job they executed.
“So, we have to deal with that when it was supposed to be looked after by the last government. You can’t take on people and don’t pay them. The ones Shurla is talking about are the ones that were taken on to do testing at the bridge and other places, now these people are being looked at,” he said, adding that the Minister of Health has since been made aware of the situation after some of the persons complained to them during his visit last week.
“We are looking to see,” Armogan said, “if there is anywhere where we can place these people in the meantime and again these people were not given any contract, no employment letter and they have no instrument to pay them. This is very bad and now you (Shurla) are asking me to correct an injustice that was done to these young people. Not that they weren’t doing a good job, they were in the health centres too, I met two of them in the Port Mourant Health Centre and they were appealing to the Minister to see what we can do.”
Meanwhile, one of the new faces on the PPP/C councillor list, Erwin Abdulla, in addressing the council posited that the process in which the health workers were “taken on” was “not normal”. He underscored that there must be a budgetary allocation in the first place for such positions and in that regard, there must be a job description with the job specification along with what duties they will be performing “so that we would have efficiency and no redundancies, the process was not fair and going forward, this must not happen again”.
Armogan revealed that the persons were brought on to work by the then Director of Health Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens. The Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony has been apprised of the situation and the Ministry of Health is said to be addressing the issue.
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