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Fed-up PoS nurses plan shutdown today

By Joanne Briggs, Trinidad Guardian, 26 April 2000

NURSES have threatened a total shutdown of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital today, in light of yesterday's failed meeting between the Public Services Association (PSA) and the Ministry of Public Administration.

Nurses at the Port-of-Spain hospital were vociferous in their decision to completely shut down the institution. But PSA president, Jennifer Baptiste, said last night she has no control over the nurses or their actions.

"Clearly it is a rebellion," she said. Baptiste was at her PSA offices last night after a meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) at the CPO's offices.

"They have gone beyond their level of tolerance. They are reacting that way because they were at the meeting," Baptiste said.

The PSA described its meeting with Minister of Public Administration, Wade Mark, as "nothing", as the union expected to meet with a ministerial team including Minister of Health, Hamza Rafeeq, and the Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Denise Jones.

Instead, the PSA team met with Mark, minus Rafeeq and Jones.

The meeting was in response to a letter sent to Mark by the PSA one week ago, requesting discussions to resolve the current impasse in the health facilities in the country.

Mark promised to speak with Minister Rafeeq and PS Jones about yesterday's meeting.

Meanwhile, a 10-member executive team of the National Trade Union Centre (Natuc) will meet with Prime Minister Basdeo Panday today to seek to find a resolution to the health sector crisis.

Included in the team is Government Senator, Selwyn John, who felt Natuc should intervene in the matter.

"The crisis is expanding with fullscale repercussions," he noted.

John said the decision to meet with Panday was taken by Natuc's executive committee two weeks ago. He said the Prime Minister agreed and the meeting is fixed for 2 pm at Whitehall.

Baptiste last night was surprised to hear about the Natuc meeting with the PM.

She explained she was out all day and was not aware if any correspondence from Natuc came to her regarding the meeting.

John explained Natuc tried to contact Baptiste yesterday afternoon but was not successful.