Kingston, Jamaica, July 2, 2021: Opposition Leader Mark Golding, in responding to reports that the Ministry of Health finally met with the Medical Doctors Association over what he called their “long-standing and clearly valid concerns”, noted that “yesterday’s pandemonium in the country’s health system was occasioned by the Government’s callous disregard and negligence. The Prime Minister should never have allowed it to get to this point.”
He continued - “Yesterday’s debacle was all the more shameful because the Government let it happen during the Covid pandemic, when our doctors, nurses and other medical staff have been the real heroes, battling long and hard on the frontlines of Covid-19 to save the lives of so many Jamaicans. It is absolutely unconscionable that the Government has continuously ignored the valid claims of these valiant public servants, who have kept our healthcare system running in the most difficult and indeed dangerous working conditions,” he said.
“The events of yesterday exposed the misplaced priorities of this Government. It took our doctors ‘falling ill’ during the pandemic to force the Government to come to the table to discuss long-standing grouses about the unjust contrivance of short-term contracts, unpaid gratuities and other broken promises concerning their conditions of service. This affair has put on full display the contempt with which the Government has been dealing with these heroic public servants at a time when our society needs them most,” he said.
The Opposition Leader expressed relief that the Government has eventually capitulated to some of the demands of the Medical Doctors Association, including the restructuring of the contracts of 25 doctors, and the payment of overdue gratuities. However, it remains concerning that while some of the junior doctors will be returning to work, over 100 of their colleagues will no longer be working alongside them, further weakening Jamaica’s overburdened healthcare system. He concluded - “Better late than never for some, but it is clear to the Jamaican people what it takes to achieve justice when dealing with an uncaring, arrogant and self-satisfied Government.”