NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The honorarium payments to the personal assistant and the driver of the health minister had created an uproar, however, the Ministry of Health Reward Wells has confirmed that the pair has returned the money at his request. He further rebuked the social media saying that the pair were issued $1,158.40, and not $5000 that had been doing rounds on the social media. In addition to that, he also stated that he didn’t receive an honorarium, and a selected committed decided who got the payments.
“Today, I have asked both my driver and personal assistant to return the payment that was given to them by the government,” he said. “My brothers and sisters, I would like to say that I made no recommendation on the honorariums” he added.
Furthering commenting on the separate committee that oversaw the selection he said
“The names of the persons that received an honorarium were recommended by a separate committee”
“The committee had to make the decisions on the criteria that have been set for those who volunteered for the March 19 to June 18, 2020, and for those who later joined the fight in the ministry of health”.
In addition to that, he further said that he will ask the cabinet to get the list reconsidered, He will take the list of the people who were nominated to receive the honorariums for the cabinet to review. These developments come as the healthcare workers who were left out from the list of the honorariums called in sick on Monday that affected healthcare services across the institutions.
It’s to mention that the government had approved honorarium and death benefits of $1,040,600. Out of these funds, $400,000 were approved as death benefits for the representatives of the workers who passed in the line of duty and $640,600 who volunteered in the first wave of Covid. In addition to that, Wells said that those who joined the fight later were also to be compensated. In this regard, the government had approved an additional $3Million in the 2021-22 budget to cover 1700 healthcare workers.
“Once the legal formalities have been done, the government of Bahamas will be issuing two more cheques to the two more families that are remaining”.
He further commented on the payments being dispersing. As of August 3, according to the minister, the payments began to 308 doctors, 644 nurses, 111 emergency medical services staff, and 669 non-clinical staff. This also includes laboratory technicians, clerical, transport, administrative, security, and other staff. The minister in further appreciation thanked all the frontline and non-front line workers for their contribution and assistance in helping to fight the virus. The comments of the health minister taking the names to review come as many workers left out are calling sick to protest.