Anti-Poverty Platform urges govt. to address local nurses’ concerns | THE DAILY HERALD

Claire Elshot and Raymond Jessurun.

PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform has called on government to address the concerns of nurses in the country, citing the important role played by nurses in the country.

Platform representatives are saddened by the pleas made by nurses, who outlined some of the challenges they face during an interview with The Daily Herald earlier this week.

The nurses said more involvement is needed from government, which they said should recognise and support nurses a bit more, the facilities at which they work are short-staffed resulting in some nurses having to work lengthy hours to carry out their duties, and they are not respected by some persons in the community, amongst other issues.

“We are very grateful for the attention drawn by the Association [St. Maarten Nurses Association – Ed.] on nurses in St. Maarten. We commend all nurses of St. Maarten who, despite the challenges and the hurdles, love what they do and do it with pride and passion,” St. Maarten Consumers Coalition representative Claire Elshot said.

However, she asked, “What is this government doing for the workers and health care workers in particular?

“On behalf of the social organisations affiliated with the St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform, we hereby appeal to this Council of Ministers to address the concerns and the needs of health care workers and all other workers in our society, the employed and the unemployed, as well as all retired workers and their families.

“Like all other workers in our society, nurses are also challenged by the high cost of living in this society, especially nurses with a family to care for. Just as other workers in society, they have to struggle to make the ends meet from paycheque to paycheque.

“Just as all others in society, they also are still being challenged with high food prices (the highest in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and in the region), high rent for homes or apartments, retired nurses are challenged by the little pension they receive.

“Civil servants have a compulsory company pension administered by APS [general pension fund administrator], but private sector workers still do not have a compulsory general company pension. As a consequence, nurses just as other private sector workers, will have to survive only with a social AOV [old age] pension or with a social allowance supplement, which is a poverty income, and some are still awaiting help to finish the repair of their homes.”

The St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform demanded that government increase the minimum wage to a living wage. The Platform also urged employers to pay “decent” remuneration and provide “decent and safe working conditions” for their workers.

“We are waiting on the policies and proposals from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour. As co-coordinators of the St. Maarten Consumers Coalition, we demand from this Council of Ministers to come up with policies to lower the high prices for food, goods and services.

“From the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication; the Prime Minister, who is responsible for the rent committee; the Ministry of VROMI which is responsible for Public Housing, Environment and Infrastructure; and the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for reducing the tax burden in our society, we are awaiting your policies and proposals to make living in St. Maarten more affordable,” Elshot said.

Source: The Daily Herald