Around 100 nurses and supporters marched through Bridgetown this morning, led by general secretary of the Unity Workers Union, Caswell Franklyn.
Shouting slogans such as “enough is enough!” and “no retreat, no surrender!” and beating pots, the frustrated health professionals marched from Cheapside, along Broad Street, Bridge Road and Probyn Street to the Golden Square Freedom Park, where they quickly dispersed under the watchful eye of police officers.
It took around an hour and a half.
Franklyn told the media the event was a success and there were plans to hold another on January 18, the day before elections. He said he took no pleasure in hampering Barbados’ health services but the issues – such as late pay, lack of uniforms, equipment and materials, over work, bad physical working conditions, lack of hazard pay and inadequate salary – had festered for far too long.
“I am sad to say our health care institutions are limping along and that pains me, I would like to see the nurses back to work but we have a Prime Minister who thinks she is large and in charge, her way or no way, but she will have to call elections again and again for we are not going to give up,” he said.
Franklyn said the issue was not political, however, a number of political hopefuls attended the march, from the Democratic Labour Party’s Kemar Stuart and Independent Fallon Best, both running for The City, to members of the Barbados Sovereign Party Philip Catlyn, who is running for St Thomas and Michael Thompson, who is running for St Peter. Also present was Alex Mitchell of the Bajan Free party.
Stuart said he sympathised with the nurses and accused Government of playing games, urging them to get serious and address the issues, while also advising the nurses to think carefully when going to the polls. (CA)