8 nurses suspended as Government continues clamp down following protests
BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
EIGHT senior nurses were suspended yesterday for alleged misconduct in office following the sit-in protest recently held over covid-19 allowance claims.
Seven are senior nurses working at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and one serving at a Honiara City Council (HCC) clinic; they are managers, nursing directors and nurse consultants.
Three are executive members of the suspended Solomon Islands Nursing Association (SINA) and five are ordinary members.
The suspension letter given to the eight nurses by the Permanent Secretary for Public Service Mr Nego Sisiolo highlighted the subject of the letter as ‘suspension of duties for alleged misconduct in office’.
“Reference to the above subject, I write to you being a public officer serving in the Solomon Islands Public Services nursing cadre and that pursuant to your appointment in the said cadre you are a member of the Solomon Islands Nursing Association (SINA) that is currently on suspension.
“It was alleged that you being one of the nurses spokesperson strongly and participated in the well planned yet unauthorized sit-down protest that occurred from Friday 30th October to Sunday 1st November 2020.Given the seriousness of this allegations against you, it is prudent that you be relieved from duties to enable free investigations into allegations.
“I therefore in exercise of the Public Service Commission delegated disciplinary power pursuit to LN no.76/2008 decided that you be suspended from your duties with immediate effect.
“While on suspension, you will be paid 50 percent salary. The MPS PSU will pursue investigation to ascertain the allegations and where appropriate issue you charge (s) of misconduct for which you will be given opportunity to respond pursuit PSC Regulations 48.
“If investigations report suggest there are no evidence to support allegations, than you will be advised to resume duty and have your full salary reinstated and backdated accordingly.
“Furthermore, while on suspension, in accordance to PSC Regulations 64, you must not leave your duty station. i.e. Honiara unless you have a written permission from the Secretary from Public Service.
“You are restricted from entering Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) headquarters premises unless authorized by the reasonable officer in the said Ministry,” said the letter from PS Siosilo.
Nurses staged a sit-in protest from October 30 to November 1 this year following government refusal to pay them covid-19 allowance.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare responded by exercising the absolute power placed on him under the state of emergency and suspending the legal body representing nurses, SINA.
This dictatorial government move has left nurses without a legal body to channel their concerns and welfare issues through – Nurses are handicapped and voiceless.
Now it is clear that government is not only content on just suspending SINA, but is hell-bent on tracking and prosecuting individuals in SINA.