Meet Us Face to Face’: The Nurses Covid-19 Allowance Saga 

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More than 500 members of the Solomon Islands Nurse Association (SINA) have agreed to continue with the sit-in protest being proposed for today.

BY ALEX DADAMU

MORE than 500 members of the Solomon Islands Nurse Association (SINA) have agreed today October 30, 2020, to continue with the proposed sit-in protest scheduled for today.

Despite relevant authorities deemed the protest as being illegal, the nurses have voiced concerns citing frustrations over the delays of the Covid-19 allowance claims which they have not received anything since September.

SINA General Secretary Steven Maitani told Sunday Isles Newspaper stating his office has issued a statement last night to call off the protest however, the 500 members of SINA has agreed that enough is enough and has agreed to continue with the Sit-in protest, demanding responsible people within the COVID-19 Oversight Committee and the Prime Minister’s office come face to face with them and not to send letters or messengers with messages promising messages that will never be honored.

Mr. Maitani in a statement last night said SINA members made a submission dated 19th October to the government to review Covid-19 allowances however government fails to respond accordingly.

Thus consequently, he said last Friday 23 October, SINA sought application to stage a sit-in protest on 30th October 2020 (today) under the Procession and Public Assembly Act 1996.  

However the SINA General Secretary continued that as of yesterday 29th October, SINA received no approval and upon follow-up with relevant authorities, SINA was advised there needs to be a consultative talk between relevant authorities before approval can be granted, the general secretary said.

Mr. Maitani told Sunday Isles that SINA executive shares great concerns and sympathy with their members.

Attending the gathering today at National Referral Hospital car park, Mr. Maitani said he was supposed to advise the nurses to call off the protest however he admitted that he is aware of the ongoing frustration of their members and will find ways to harmonize their members’ concerns and irritations.

Mr. Maitani in his Statement last night said SINA executive with great humility, kindly call on Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) to avail himself to a planned meeting by SINA executive with its members to harmonize the nurses’ frustration.

Meanwhile, in a letter of Memorandum to the nurses today, Incident Controller of the National Health Emergency Operations Centre (NHEOC), Dr. Gregory Jilini said as an authorized officer empowered under the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Regulations, he advised all nurses participating in the sit-in protest which he termed ‘illegal’ to immediately return to their duty stations.

“A failure to adhere to this notice is a breach of the above Regulation. Any person not adhering shall be responsible for any penalties arising out of the breach and that person is deemed to have accepted the consequences,” Dr. Gregory Jilini warned.

Dr. Jilini warned the nurses that currently in the State of Public Emergency and during the duration of the state of Public Emergency, several rights and privileges are suspended.

“A breach of a directive by an Authorized Officer is an offense and is punishable by a fine of 10,000.00 and/or 5 years imprisonment.

“I will be requiring the Ministry staff to record all names of nurses not adhering to this directive,” Dr. Gregory Jilini warned.

Sunday Isles understand that more than 500 members of the Solomon Islands Nurse Association (SINA) participated in the Sit-in protest and they have agreed that all they want was for relevant people within the Prime Minister’s office or the COVID-19 Oversight Committee to meet them face to face to hear their concerns and to give them assurance regarding the delays of the nurses Covid-19 allowance claimed.