Government of St. Kitts and Nevis May Consider Gratuitous Payment for Newly Appointed Registered Nurses
by Merv-Ann Thompson
Following the recent appointment of Nurses’ Assistants to Registered Nurses, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis may consider some form of gratuity payment as a means of compensation for the delay of their appointments for almost a decade.
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Terrence Drew made the pronouncement during The Roundtable on Thursday, August 31st – a monthly conversation with media personnel, held at Koi Resort.
Two days before The Roundtable, a ceremony was held at the Joseph N. France General Hospital Conference Room, to appoint local nurses who were trained in Cuba in 2013.
According to Prime Minister Drew, Cuban-born nurses who are now working in the federation were hired immediately as Registered Nurses because of their Cuban medical training, but local nurses who received the same training were not hired same.
“Each of these nurses would’ve lost about XCD $150,000 of wealth over the last decade,” in beginning his point of their potential salary breakdown, had they been appointed as registered nurses.
“If you look at the difference between the salary of a — this is such an egregious act. I’m here thinking about it and I think the government should consider giving them some sort of compensation. The government is not obligated to, but I think something should be considered, because the difference between the pay of a registered nurse and an assistant nurse, let’s say, it’s around $1000.
“$1000 times 12 – it could be more than that – is $12,000. $12,000 times 10 [is a] minimum of $120,000, plus loss of opportunity for advanced training, loss of opportunity for increment, and the increased salaries.
“I mean, that’s a significant amount of money. So you’re easily talking about $150,000 but apart from that, the professional embarrassment, the humiliation – to see somebody come from Cuba, who studied at the same university – is their boss, and they have the same qualifications. The only difference is you were born in Cuba and I [was] born in St. Kitts.
“If you’re born in Cuba, you’re given special privileges. I [was] born in St. Kitts so I have to take what I get.”
He said that this was a policy before their appointments, but was not upheld. The Nursing Counsel reviewed their qualifications and determined that they are capable.