Sep 17, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Despite more than 400 members of the Guyana People’s Militia (GPM) being deployed nationwide to provide assistance for the Ministry of Health’s ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination drive, the ranks, however, have not been paid since March 2021.
Nevertheless, in an effort to guarantee their concerns are voiced, several members of the GPM contacted Kaieteur News to air their plight. They did so under the condition of anonymity, because of fears of the consequences of publicising their situation.
As part of their recruitment, an agreement was inked, which stated that the ranks were to be paid their salaries on a monthly basis. The agreement further stated that they were to receive a stipend for being a part of the pool of trained recruits augmenting the vaccination drive efforts.
Meanwhile, some of the ranks were trained to administer vaccines, while others were trained to complete documentation and any other tasks assigned to them. Additionally, the ranks report to work on a day-to-day basis from 08:00hrs. to whenever the vaccination site stops working. The ranks are provided with lunch and transportation to the vaccination sites from their various command bases.
The ranks indicated that their engagement to assist in the provision of vaccination service requires much more of their time away from the GPM, and their responsibilities there, which leaves them little of time for resting. They also stated that they are requesting swift action for the payment of their salaries. However, one rank said, “You work for one week straight and after that you still have to go back to the base to do drills and other military stuff.” It is alleged that ranks were told that President Ali is yet to sign off on the necessary documentation for their payment. On September 9, 2021, Opposition Leader (Ag), Roysdale Forde, took up the issue. He said that the ranks have been providing frontline services and deserved to be paid for serving this country.
“President Irfaan Ali has the time to go and spend Government monies, to run about the country, to go to Region Two to campaign and now, people are here without salaries – 400 or more of them – but they have to go out every day to provide vaccine services to the people of this country. This also captures the abandonment of good governance in relation to the people of this country,” he said.
In relation to the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, it was first administered in Guyana on February 11, 2021, at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to Pharmacist, Brinnet Bernarai, who works at the hospital. Since then, over 337,000 persons have had their first jab, and over 175,000 were fully vaccinated utilising sites across Guyana.
Kaieteur News yesterday made several attempts to contact the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Accounts Department. Those efforts, however, have proven to be futile.
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