Planned injunction against MSJMC Bill ‘a bold step’

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While it may be too early to determine the likely outcome of a potential legal challenge against the government regarding proposed changes to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre Act (2009), the workers at the hospital should be commended for taking the “bold step”.
Dr. Isaac Newton, a political advisor, expressed that view on Sunday during an interview on the Big Issues programme.
Dr. Newton said it is important for residents to recognise the court as the third arm of government and to look upon the court to put a check on what is perceived to be potential abuses by those in power.
“It is still a symbolically important move to be made. Whether or not it will substantially bring about any radical change, I am not too sure. I am not quite familiar with the nature of the injunction,” Dr. Newton said.
He further stated that it is a very strong step to be made for which the hospital workers should be commended.
The  Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association (ABNA) and the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA) – the two unions representing workers at the MSJMC threatened legal action last week after indicating that they were seeking legal advice regarding the planned controversial changes outlined in the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (Amendment) Bill 2018.
The Bill was adjusted and subsequently approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday. Both unions have contended that while certain changes were made to the Bill they are still not satisfied.
The piece of legislation seeks to end the secondment of public officers to the employment of the board and to complete the transition of MSJMC under the management of the board.
Nurses and other critical care hospital staff had also feared that the adjustments “proposed prior to the debate” would jeopardise the jobs of workers who were seconded to MSJMC from Holberton Hospital in 2009.
During a follow-up interview with our newsroom yesterday, Karen Josiah, president of ABNA said both unions have already consulted with an attorney who is now doing the groundwork.
She said the legal papers will be filed after the Bill is passed in the Upper House.

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