MSJMC workers still skeptical even after assurances from government


“Until I see with my eyes what changes are made, I am not going to give a thumbs up at all,” said Joan Peters nurse and president of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA).

The president was referring to the proposed changes made on Monday to the Mount St. John Medical Centre (Amendment) Bill 2018 designed to formalize the status of over 180 public workers who were seconded from Holberton Hospital to the MSJMC in 2009.

“Some changes have been made but we cannot speak directly [to those changes], because of course, you know that it is 11:30 last night that [the Bill] finished and I don’t think that the ministers themselves got an opportunity to read it before they got there today. So they too are still baffling with it.”

“This bill was meant to be a victimization bill if it had gone through in its original form.”

The original bill had been significantly revised by government drafters up until 11:30 pm the previous evening.

Mount St. John Medical Centre workers protesting outside of Parliament House on Monday

“We don’t have a problem with the secondment.” said nurse Peters, “We have a problem with the terms and conditions of our continued work. We don’t want to find out that our tenure is not protected.”

Section (9) referred to, “a person who exercises the option of applying to be employed by the Board shall cease to be a public officer from the date on which he becomes employed by the Board and any pension rights or retiring award to which he may be entitled shall be placed on hold from the date on which he ceases to be a Government employee until he attains the age of retirement under the Pensions Act (Cap. 311) or the Pensions (Non-Established Government Employees) Act (Cap. 310) as the case may be.”

“Why should I have to apply for the job that I was already duly employed for?,” asked nurse Peters.

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, however, indicated that the bill was amended to make the application of workers to MSJMC an “automatic exercise”.

“You will move from the civil service into the management of the statutory corporation,” said Joseph

“There is an automatic absorption of the workers in the Mount St. John’s organization.”

MSJMC workers chant, “No re-application! No redundancy!”

The MSJMC workers also took a serious issue with the Bill’s explanatory memorandum which stated:

Section 29 of the principal Act contained the transition provisions. However, this section did not provide for the ending of the secondment nor for the status of public officers after the secondment would have ended. This is of vital importance because the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre is the only public hospital on the island and the skill set of most of the public officers cannot be reintegrated into any other area of the public service. In essence, when the secondment is ended, public officers who are not absorbed by the Board, or who choose not to be so absorbed, will face redundancy.

“That big word ‘redundancy’ is found nowhere in the Civil Service Act and regulations. It’s found nowhere in our Pension Act,” said Peters.

The new amendment means that their continued employment will be automatic.

“The whole idea that there would be redundancies was never a part of this bill,” Joseph told Lower House and went on to blame the drafters of the bill for the misunderstanding.

“He said that you would be automatically absorbed by MSJMC so in other words, you don’t have to apply,” recalled nurse Karen Josiah, president Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association (ABNA).

Despite the changes made in Parliament on Monday, the MSJMC representative said that they would “reserve final judgment” until they view the final Bill for themselves.

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  1. They are so right! Too often in this country the citizens are taken for “dunce elements”. Nobody believes they have brains that can critically analyze situations. Everybody is not easily brainwashed and everybody does not like strong “Kool Aid”. Words change faster than the wind changes direction so, keeping the eyes fixed to the situation and making the law makers are doing due diligence and not pulling a fast one over the eyes of workers!

    • I have come to realize some of u are only commenting because u are not for this government. SMH Elections are over and I know if the end result was in favor of the UPP ppl like Socrates would Zip it on this topic…SICKENING PPL could not care less about these nurses jus glad they striking under the ABLP thats all….

      • We are all embarassed and hurt. Red voters Green/Blue/Orange
        The nurses left staff in place. I for one am not a fan of msjmc nurses but the truth is patients were not abandoned.

      • What does politics have to do with this? This is why Antigua cannot move forward as everything is seen by people like you as red and blue and not what is right. I for one care about the nurses and what do you know some of these nurses could have voted for and are supporters of the Labour Party.

  2. Correction: and making sure that lawmakers are doing due diligence is key. They should make sure that no one is pulling a fast one over the eyes of workers!

  3. All a sudden the cheese come out of y’all mouth. Why y’all did not have all this hype when you were being seconded to MSJMC in 2009……mmmmmmm.

  4. That nurse in the pure white uniform is very pretty.

    Anyway you all need to cool down so that the sore foot them can get dress up properly!

  5. So who to blame it on? The DRAFTERS of the bill? Susan and the redskin boy that sit behind the AG in parliament?

  6. They would be foolish to believe molwyn. In front of my eyes, he matter-of-factly went thru a bill that he knew had been changed. C’mon, really? Because this has been his m.o. for 4 years he thought he could get away with it although his colleagues who did the changes were right there. What does this say about him? What does this say about how he views his colleagues?
    Mr. PM please dont let that man lead health for another 4years, please Sir I am begging you.

  7. This woman Joan Peters is playing politics,she is Un-professional and not forgetting resembles a ugly Horse i saw a few days ago. Who cares whether you believe what the bill says or not,that is not for you to determine,when the time comes and its different then you can talk,in the meantime do the dam work you’re been paid for,and when sick people come to you,ll for help treat them with compassion and like they are humans..Some of you are Pigs and do not deserve the name of NURSE.

  8. @-JHA these alot of these “nurses” dont give on crap about people. U should see how they operate in the emergency room. They just there standing chatting and minding people damn business. Who not on phone there sitting talking about they not doing nothing caused them shift done. All the while the waotong room full plus the ambluance bringing in more…..chups some just looking for spotlight to cuss the government of the day. Them act like election nah done. One big CHUPS

  9. Nurse’s might have attitudes but the public needs to realize that sometimes these said nurse’s are people like us with out a timely pay check and bills to pay, children to feed and living from pay check to pay check….. Tell the government to improve the salary of nurses so they can be of comfortable minds and not going to work hungry and have children and landlords money…. The public don’t have manners and you coming to the same set of unkind persons to wipe your assets when your families refuse to……

    • Chups have you eve been to the emergency room and we these “nurses” it like they liming instead of look after sick people. When you com through the door they have their damn faces push up like you do them something for being sick. They knew what they we’re getrin into when they sign on to work to the govt

    • @ Concerned Citizen-Yes,they do need to be paid for the work they do,whether it be satisfactory or not..The case here is not about been paid-its about changes the Government is implementing which they are trying to turn into a political fiasco.How come you never heard from them 5years ago?. And for your Information,people speak about the behavior of some of these Nurses from their personal experiences.. They are been paid to clean the assets( however u put it) of anyone who enters the facility,thats their job, whether the patient has manners or not,and you had better believe that it is these elderly who really needs their help that gets none,until the family comes into the room.. It is time we in Antigua speak the facts when its needed regardless of who it may be.. I am not broad brushing all,but a lot is left to desired,they are no dam Florence Nightingale.

  10. Give me a break. Many of you sound soo mindless. That’s why nothing can change in antigua. Once people in antigu a stand up it’s always some political reason. Give me a damn break. Regardless of where we are from or which party we support there is still such thing as your individual right in a country. So should you not stand up if this is being jeopardized. Forgive many of us if the politicians don’t know us personally or our families so that we can receive personal gain from them. This is not aabout personal stuff it is a group of professionals fighting for their right. You people are soo disrespectful to the nurses and the hospital staff yet still when you or your family members are ill you come as if you never felt that way. Why don’t you ask the government instead to pay the nurses better and stop paying such mediocre salary to the professionals. They pay mediocre money so they get mediocre care. Nurses are humans too. There are people in less relevant positions who receive almost twice twice times what nurses make. Smh. Poleople grow up. United we stand!!!!!!! Most times we stand for nothing so the government gives us anything. Low lifted people. Nurses continue to stand up!

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