Delays in Tobago health workers’ covid19 bonus payment

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Health Secretary Dr Faith BYisrael – THA

Healthcare workers at the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) are yet to receive their promised covid19 bonus from the Government, despite the incentive being paid in Trinidad.

In August, the Prime Minister announced that some 20,000 healthcare workers in the country would receive a bonus for the effort they had put in during the pandemic. Finance Minister Colm Imbert later confirmed saying in his budget presentation that $210 million had been allocated for payments.

Clarifying the Tobago situation, THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael, speaking on the Tobago Updates morning show on Tuesday, admitted to some delays.

She said before the national budget was read in October, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh called and told her of the plan to make the funds available. She said at that point he asked for a confirmed number of healthcare workers on the island, and this was sent thereafter, “broken down.”

“So when he spoke about that in the budget presentation, it did include the Tobago Regional Health Authority – it certainly did.”

She had hoped this moneywould have been paid already, but said with no information, she had to do some micromanaging, calling the various administrators and the Ministry of Finance to get an update.

“That is the point where we realised yesterday that even though the instruction was given since last week Monday to send it off, that somebody in Tobago did not do that until yesterday.”

She said because the file was only sent on Monday, there are no guarantees on when the funds would be available in Tobago.

“What I can say, though, is that the background work has already been done. The TRHA has already identified all of the people who need to be paid, how much they need to be paid and they are just literally waiting for us to say to the TRHA, ‘Here is the money, you do your processing.’”