Nurses’ sit-in protest postponed

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Photo by ITA Group.
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BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO

SOLOMON Islands Nursing Association (SINA) proposed peaceful sit -in process planned for today (Friday 30th October) over delays to their covid-19 allowance has been postponed.

A statement by the General Secretary, Steven Maitani, on Thursday 29th October said they have called off the plan for now because authorities have not responded to their application to stage their protest.

“Following SINA members submission dated [October 19] to Government to review Covid-19 Allowance however Government fail to respond accordingly.

“Consequently, on [Oct 23] SINA sought application to stage Sit-In protest on 30.10.20, in accordance to Procession and Public Assembly Act 1996.  As of today, [Oct 29] 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 an approval can be granted.

“In absence of the relevant authorities approval, the protest will be called off accordingly. SINA is a law abiding institution and ensures its actions must be within the armpit of law.

“SINA Executive however was disappointed with the outcome of the decision and shares great concerns and sympathy with their members.

“SINA Executive however is aware of the ongoing frustration of their members and will tomorrow (Friday 30th October) find ways to harmonise their members’ concerns and irritations.”

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According to a source who requests anonymity, the planned sit-in protest planned by SINA members and proposed to be held today (Friday 30th October) is illegal and likely to be cancelled.

The source said it is illegal because the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) denied receiving any letter or application from SINA requesting for a peaceful sit-in protest and so Honiara City Council (HCC) has also denied to grant SINA members permission and told them that for any gathering to held one has seek the Coronavirus Over Sight Committee’s approval.

“Nurses are told by the Solomon Islands government that any sit-in protest organised today is illegal and if they do so, it will be at their own risk.

“However, the national government has responded positively to nurses grievance over delay and non-payment of allowances in a meeting held yesterday (Thursday 29th October) at the Prime Minister Office (PMO).

In this meeting it was revealed that covid-19 allowances for nurses was delayed at the Accounts General office, Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT),” the source said.

With this, the source said Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) McKinnie Dentana gave directives to the office of Accounts General, MoFT and his team to quickly process the delayed payments for nurses and immediately send the payment to nurse bank accounts rather than waiting for their fortnights.

The source said that nurses are reminded by SIG that in this current situation of covid-19 pandemic any gathering of more than 10 people or huge number of people is not encouraged as it is against the covid-19 regulations.

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