Bahamas Independence “48”

Dear Editor,

Open letter

1. It has been generally accepted worldwide, that “the health of a nation is the wealth of that nation.”

2. As worker representatives in this critical health care sector, we are constantly both reminded and challenged to reflect on our role in nation-building.

3. The Bahamas Doctors Union is continually challenged to reflect on the road we have trod and in essence how far we have come, and the many challenges we continue to face.

4. It is most appropriate from time-to-time, to reflect on the conditions that brought about the need for unions (worker representatives).

5. History would reveal that there was gross imbalance between capital and Labour, and workers’ rights were abused without defense or recourse. Thus, collective bargaining represented an effort to bring about some equity... some parity... some level of fairness.

6. Despite the ongoing training and increased graduating of medical practitioners, there continues to be a worldwide shortage. In a significant number of cases, mass migration of these professionals occurs to environments where work conditions are better, and compensation is more equitable and reflective of the sacrifice of years of training and commitment to providing efficient health care services.

7. It is ironic, that back in 2017, for the first time in Bahamian history, both the head of government (PM) and the Minister of Health were both practicing medical practitioners.

There was that hope, that some of the longstanding challenges would be addressed, as they had worked in and were aware of matters being complained about. But alas, more than four years later, the BDU is still seeking redress of our outstanding challenges, but now with a nonmedical practitioner minister.

8. For the past almost two years, we have been also struggling with covid19, a world pandemic. Heath care workers have been on the front line to contain this pandemic.

9. Our Independence “48” message is a clarion call to the relevant authorities, to simultaneously address the legitimate concerns of doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

Let us collectively make true the promise that “the health of a nation is truly the wealth of that nation.”

10. While we are not desirous of negotiating in public, we remain eager and look forward to begin the process ... in earnest ... in tackling these long outstanding matters. Do have a happy and healthy Independence “48.”

~ Bahamas Doctors Union, July 11, 2021

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