PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the government fully respects the roles and responsibilities of all nurses in the country.
Speaking during his nation-wide address today, the Prime Minister said the government supports all nurses that are working and serving the people of this country, regardless of where they are, and what role they play, in the provision of nursing services to all the citizens of our country.
The Prime Minister stated this when he clarified the reason why he suspended the Solomon Islands Nursing Association (SINA) as a Trade Union.
He said the suspension of SINA was a decision the government did not take lightly.
“It was taken after all the options open to government were explored and exhausted. SINA has put its own interest as a Trade Union ahead of this nation’s interest,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the rationale for the suspension was explained in the media and will continue through a series of clarification’s this week.
He said the Trade Union did not prioritize the national interest and security of this country at a time when we needed all hands on deck.
Prime Minister Sogavare said it instead went ahead and broke our laws and encouraged their members to desert their patients.
“Solomon Islands is a democratic country that upholds the rule of law. We have laws in place, laws to regulate how we behave in certain situations, such as trade disputes not to mention a State of Public Emergency. It is important that we follow the regulations, especially when there is a State of Public Emergency,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the sit in protest by the nurses had affected the provision of health services both at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and the Honiara City Council health clinics.
He said it has posed risks to lives of sick patients and the general public who needed health care services at that time.
“It had also affected the 2nd deployment of health workers for covid-19 operations, mainly at the isolation wards, the swabbing teams and daily health monitoring at the quarantine stations,” he said.
The Prime Minister has assured all trade unions, the government respects them and is willing to work with them.
However, he said when a trade union breaks our laws and drives its members to take illegal actions, that trade union has become an instrument of division instead of unity.
“This is a time when we must work together. This is the time when your country is asking you for your help, commitment, sacrifice and courage,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the government is continuing dialogue with the nurses and has welcomed the decision by nurses to resume work as of Sunday.
“The government fully supports all its nurses that are working and serving the people of this country,” he said.