PROTEST ON HOLD - Solomon Star News


30 October 2020
Steven Maitani.

THE proposed sit-in protest by 500 members of the Solomon Islands Nurse Association (SINA) scheduled for this morning has been called off after authorities turned down the request.

SINA General Secretary Steven Maitani in a statement last night issued the decision to call off the peaceful protest.

The protest is over the delays to the nurses’ Covid-19 allowance claims.

Mr. Maitani said SINA members made a submission dated 19th October to the government to review Covid-19 allowances however government fails to respond accordingly.

“Consequently, last Friday 23.10.20 SINA sought application to stage sit-in protest on 30th October 2020 (today) in accordance with Procession and Public Assembly Act 1996.  

But as of yesterday SINA received no approval and upon follow-up with relevant authorities, SINA was advised there needs to be a consultative talk between relevant authorities before an approval can be granted, the general secretary said.

“In absence of the relevant authorities’ approval, the protest will be called off accordingly. 

“SINA is a law-abiding institution and ensures its actions must be within the armpit of law,” the statement said.

SINA executive however expressed disappointment with the outcome of the decision and shares great concerns and sympathy with their members.

The executive however is aware of the ongoing frustration of their members and will find ways to harmonize their members’ concerns and irritations, the statement added.  

“Despite the protest not granted, SINA executive with great humility, kindly call on Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) to avail himself to a planned meeting by SINA executive with its members to harmonize the nurses’ frustration,” the statement said.  

SINA further stated that what their members want is a dialogue with government authorities to iron out claims and find avenues for compromise for a win-win outcome as opposed to averting attempts by SINA for dialogue.  

Maitani has earlier explained the protest is to allow responsible authorities to act on the grievances of the nurses.

“The SINA Office humbly calls on the government to expedite our concerted efforts towards the settlement of this undertaking to ease our hardworking nurses' anxieties especially at this critical period of covid-19 SOPE,” the letter reads.

“Not only that but time is against us, and so it is time we remind the Government on what we have committed ourselves to deliver to our hardworking nurses in a timely manner,” it added.

The sit-in protest was supposed to take place at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) car park.

The proposed protest has also concerned members of the public because it would affect health services in Honiara and Guadalcanal Province.