April, 8, 2008
Several Health Workers on Nevis were honored for their contribution to health services during an Award Ceremony on World Health Day Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Nevis Red Cross Center. Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hensley Daniel said the event was the Ministry’s way of showing appreciation for the important contribution of the workers and to raise their profile.
Minister Daniel said the private sector has a role to play to honor sanitation workers and help to manage garbage generated by them. He also added the Ministry expected the private and public sector cooperation.
“I believe that the reason why we have to be worried about environmental health worker is because of our attitude to health care has gone the wrong way in the sense that we have people who are using items and regard it as somebody else’s business to dispose of their garbage
“We are generating the garbage and hoping for somebody else to pick it up. In that context I want us to consider we pay five dollars a month to get our garbage disposed eight times. When I do a calculation I worked out sixty cents to pick up your garbage per trip and it is time for us to consider whether we shall continue to have people to work for us before we spend 60 cents a trip to dispose of the garbage. When it is not disposed my phone rings and everybody else in the Ministry or in the Cabinet phone rings and if it piles up it rings even more,” he said.
He further stated the esthetics value of Nevis was not to be taken for granted. Nevis received high commendation from visitors and restaurateurs which was accredited to the Sanitation workers outstanding job performance. Notwithstanding, “there were legislation in place for the government to enforce the maintenance of a healthy environment that was offensive, with the cost passed on to property owners,” he said.
Minister Daniel indicated the Sanitation Bill had to be considered if the department workers were paid proper remuneration for the excellent job of keeping the environment clean.
He indicated that if the Ministry of Health were to attract younger workers to the Sanitation Department, a behaviour change was necessary from a garbage disposal perspective.
“We have to rethink the job that the honorees do and we cannot continue like this. They have been working to protect us as the theme say to “Protect Health from Climate Change.” I’m persuaded that if we develop and design the kinds of programs for the sanitation department, we can have a much better community. I would like to see our environmental health workers retire at the retirement age and go home and live on their pensions as others who made their tremendous contribution to the society,” the Health Minister said.
Mr. Daniel said he regarded the contribution of Sanitation workers significant and a new garbage truck would be added to the Department’s sanitation vehicles to help with proper garbage disposal.
Minister Daniel also said with the level of commitment the Department received from the honorees, remuneration lagged far behind and sanitation workers average wage should increased.
“As we celebrate these people this afternoon we have to also look at the average wage of the people who are here this afternoon. My good friend Mr. Byron is past eighty years and doing well and still working. My good friend Mr. Herbert is passed seventy years and Mr. Clarke. When we look at their circumstance, it does not appear that we have shown the requisite appreciation and if it is that we haven’t change the environment where people were shown a considerably level of appreciation, then it tells us that we have to rethink and reorganized our priorities,” he said.
The Health Minister said the profile of garbage disposal workers raised were dependent on whether young people were attracted to work for the sanitation Department and sanitation workers wages became more attractive as they ensured a healthy environmental for the destination of Nevis.
Present at the ceremony was Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Ministry Mr. Joseph Wiltshire who spoke on behalf of Premier Parry, who attended another government function. Mr. Wiltshire told the honorees he was happy to be associated with the ceremony to honor their sterling contribution to the enhancement of the island’s beauty.
He also said they were recognized for their hard work and dedicated service, their daily task to clean the streets and collect the community’s household garbage had ensured Nevis was maintained a clean and tidy paradise. He also added “too often dedicated and committed service goes unnoticed especially jobs that are considered to be menial.”
Mr. Wiltshire congratulated the honorees and told them to continue to “autograph their work with excellence.”
Honorees recognized from the Environmental Health Department were: Mr. Charles “Smallie” Arthurton Sweeney, Mr. Fred Clarke, Mr. Regional Abbot, Mr. George Herbert, Mr. Elroy Hanley, Mr. Joseph Victor Byron, Mr. Edmond Dasent and Mr. Orvile Smithen. Those recognised from the Solid Waste Management Unit were: Mr. Gerard Moses Pemberton, Ms. Marva Frith and Mr Herbert George. The workers received Service Pins for their years of long service and Certificates of Recognition and cash awards.