GEORGETOWN –– “Enough is enough!” and “We are not going anywhere!” were the utterances of more than two dozen students who were locked out of the Georgetown Nursing School compound yesterday.
The students turned up for classes around 7:30 a.m. but were prevented from entering the compound. There was a padlock on the gate, stopping them from going to classes.
Frustrated by this, the students protested in front of the school’s East Street office before walking to the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s head office on Brickdam, where they requested a meeting with minister Bheri Ramsaran, but t
o no avail.
The students shouted for several hours in front the MOH building: “We are not going anywhere”; “Kingston is too small for all of us”; “That building [Nursing School] has history.”
Some of the placards read We Ain’t Going Nowhere, Kingston Has No Space; We Need Justice! Nurses Are Not Failures; It’s $16,000 Stipend Not $20,000.
Late last month, the students were forced out of the building by four aggressive contractors who informed them that the facility no longer belonged to them.
They were told that the building, which had been a teaching institution for nurses since 1970, was recently handed over to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the University of Guyana.
Kaieteur News was told that the building was handed over to the two institutions during a meeting with Ramsaran, and representatives from both facilities.
According to information reaching the Kaieteur News, the building will be converted into a living quarters for doctors attached to the GPHC.
The student nurses who are currently occupying the building will be transferred to a MOH building in Kingston, Georgetown, which is already facilitating a number of students, since the East Street building is overcrowded. The Kingstown building, according to the students, is dilapidated and cannot facilitate 462 students.
Yesterday, Careem Liverpool, one of the student nurses said: “We are out here because we are not getting the response we need from the minister. We want a meeting. They tell us to send letters and we have sent more than one and they are not responding to us.”
Liverpool explained that officials from the nursing school did not notify them that the building was being handed over.
“Up to now, no one has said anything to us. No one notified us about the moving,” the student nurse said.
The nurses explained that after the first protest, they continued to attend classes, thinking that they no longer had to move, but when they turned up early yesterday, they were locked out of the compound.
“The security said she was at the back and when she came in front, she saw the padlock,” the nurses stated.
The minister of health could not be reached for a comment yesterday.