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Photo: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty Images.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will begin bonding locally trained nurses to work in the country for a number of years, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced on Wednesday.

The bonding will begin with current cohorts or nurses enrolled at the nation’s training school and comes amidst a significant number of nurses choosing to work overseas. 

Gonsalves, speaking on state radio, said that he has discussed the issue with the chief personnel officer and Nigel Scott , director of the SVG Community College, of which the Division of Nursing Education is a part.

He, however, did not say specifically for how long nurses would be bonded.

“We don’t have a bonding programme for nurses because we have been producing such a surplus that you could even facilitate some nurses going [overseas to work].  It’s a poverty reduction measure, [it] is to make sure that young people have a noble profession, especially women,” the prime minister said.

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He said that is why his government gives either a free nursing level at the associate degree level and highly subsidised, the bachelor’s programme.

“And in addition, we give you $1,000 a month. So we spend a lot of money on it. And what is happening, there are some persons who are — and I understand it, but the world has to be in a balance for things to work; I don’t begrudge anybody who wants to go overseas and get an opportunity to work and the like. 

“But surely, I mean, you can’t just use the system in a way you get a free education for two or three years, or in some cases, four years are near-free, you get $1,000 a month. I pay you to go to school, really and then immediately when you come out, you get a year on the SET (Support for Education and Training programme0, for instance, which a SET nurse is $1,500 a month, and then you say you want to get appointed, and I could understand you want [to get] appointed, but you want get appointed as a staff nurse, you don’t necessarily have it in your mind to stay to give a few years service. 

“Shortly after you get appointed as a staff nurse, you jump on a plane and you gone somewhere else . You gone to England or somewhere and England is taking a lot because with the COVID a lot of countries need nurses.”

The prime minister said there is a “great demand, greater than usual” for nurses globally. 

“But you can’t turn your back –everybody can’t go and turn their back on we who pay to train them. 

“Normally, as I say when you  had an overabundance, and though there was a big demand, there wasn’t like nowadays, there’s a real crazy demand for nurses. When I say crazy, I mean, out there because they need so many more nurses because of the pandemic. 

“But Heavenly Father. I mean, if we train you, we give you a free or near-free nursing education, we pay you $1,000 a month. Come on, your conscience must tell you, you can’t tell me well you do one year or you do two years. You’ve got to give me a little bit more than that, man. That sounds reasonable. I wasn’t encumbering the young people, but the circumstances have now changed.”

He rejected the view that nurses are leaving because they have been mandated to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s  not the case because it’s really the pull of countries outside, including the Caribbean, you know want our nurses, including places like Tortola, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, Antigua itself, St. Kitts.”

Gonsalves said that SVG has a good nursing school. 

“Our persons, I mean they are good nurses. I love them very much but you got to show some solidarity with me, too — not just me but I mean with the country. you can’t take the view that well, you’re a Vincentian, there’s this programme and you get it and then you’re going, 

“So we have to do, including those who are currently in the programme, we have to do a bonding. Remember,  this programme is hundreds upon hundreds, running into thousands of persons who have trained as nurses, and nursing assistants. 

“I mean, we spent millions expanding the nursing school, increased the staff, do all sorts of things and we do something for our nursing students here, which people don’t do otherwise in the region,” the prime minister said. 

17 replies on “SVG to begin bonding nurses”

  1. Realistically the nurses are chasing and following the and that thier right the are under paid thier working conditions is appalling etc. They deserved more because they are essential. More reasonable pay more benifits and incentives. Nurses, teachers,police with good codes of ethics deserved recognition. Tbh i don’t agree with outsourcing but unfortunately in this instance i have to support the nurses. Treat them better they will stay. Theres no place i would have rather be but in svg building myself but when i finished secondary school progression came to a standstill and i applied for jobs was never successful hence me leaving to seek employment. A lot of brilliant human resources has left svg all seeking jobs and a seemingly better life.

  2. . Alexis Gerrick says:

    It’s about time , long overdue , no company trains you , and when you finish Monday you want to leave , what ABOUT our investment in you for the last four years? Very good IDEA sir win on two sides

  3. That still does not solve the immediate problem of a serious shortage of nurses. I would encourage any nurse who gets a better opportunity for themselves and their families to make use of it. The political elite already have their bread buttered and that of their children. They have refused to pay competitive salaries to anyone but themselves. The condition of work in the local public health system is appalling with little room for upward mobility and little chance that you can have a work- life balance. Nurses need to protect and provide for themselves and their families first of all- that is their first responsibility.

  4. A commodity in high demand fetches a higher price.
    you have to bore the cost of that higher education so a cost must be associated with that training. bonding sound right. but you must pay fair wages or individual would leave and pay back that cost of train from the higher income they would be earning elsewhere.

  5. Yes 5 star you are always good at talking trash.Bond them when you can’t even find work for them after graduation?You will do much better it you don a clown suit.

  6. Louis+Ferdinand says:

    Some sort of bonding makes full sense.SVG is a small Nation, we have limited finance, and just about limited everything, we do not have any natural resources to help our economy or otherwise. Investing in the education and training of Nurses comes at a great cost to the Nation, it’s part of the Budget and that money could have been spent on something different. Let’s not have an as usual political debate here as is always the case in everything. Remember that we have to balance things. Basic Commonsense is hard to come by, it’s not taught in College or University no one has ever graduated from these institutions with a PhD or Doctorate degree in Commonsense. I personally support some sort of bonding.

  7. Cost of living increasing, SVG’s high debt and stagnant salary are all the cook needed. Your teacher are next, along with your degree holding public servants. Reality is.. the tax paying public and civil servants are overtaxed at the expense of contractor, plumbers, carpenters, masons and the like. Imagine hiring a worker and paying him more than you and all tax free.
    Especially in this time of Covid where all these richer coubtries needs professionals! I am surprised Vibcentiab are still in vincy!

  8. A few years ago before covid, there were a lot of trained nurses who Ralph refused to hire. There were large shortages at clinics, but due to the mismanagement of finances by this government, money was not allotted for hiring more nurses. The grenadines had one or two nurses servicing mayreau, union and canouan. There was no overnight nurse. NOW covid hits, which Ralph didn’t want to take seriously initially, and the shortage, which was happening for YEARS, is now catching up to them. Nurses have been leaving to go to England for many years. It’s not a new thing. But due to the fact that for the last 20 years the medical institution in SVG has been operating with minimum staffing, now there is a dire need for extra nurses, it seems as if there’s such a large shortage. THE NUMBER OF NURSES HIRED ARE THE SAME YEARS AGO. THE NEED JUST INCREASED.

  9. Urlan Alexander says:

    I recalled when the PM boasted of training nurses for the regional and international market. Now that the said nurses are following Ralph reason for training surplus nurses he getting mad. The other issue is this; many trained.nurses are being languished for years without being appointed.or even employed. There is always some ways to stifle vincentian when Ralph doesn’t get his way. By the way these nurses helped propel Ralph to power so I guess is payback.of some sort. Ask.Audrey Gittens.

  10. Israel R. Bruce says:

    Ralph Gonsalves has no shame. A number of the nurses who have departed were here doing next to nothing, some working at Syrians stores. Others not appointed because of their percieved political affiliation. When the state bonds them i hope it is understood that the state MUST employ them at their qualifications level or grant them relief from the bonding. Its a catch 20 – 20 for this mismanaged economy. Which one of Gonsalves children got bonded after reaping the best of our soil. You hate independence in our young people. They don’t have to stay here in order to contribute to national development. Ralph Gonsalves stop talking about “I spending to train you” . The tax payers of this country are the ones spending to train these nurses no you Mr. What about those who pay to train themselves then return to serve the country, what are you proposing to have them benefiting from as a result? Mr. The coin has two sides. Treat the nurses better as in providing better working conditions and they will stay. These nurses are not making an easy decision. Its very hard for them. Further. It may be true that our school of nursing delivers a top quality program and i believe it to be so. Why not get the countries with shortages in the nursing profession to be trained here. This means uptake in businesses for landlords, supermarkets, omnibuses, security agencies and the likes. You say you are progressive in thought but bonding is but a retrogressive mindset.


  11. Let them borrow loans and pay for nursing school just like the countries they want to for. Nothing in life is free. If the government pay for your schooling you should stay and contribute your service to your country. Good move by the government ✌

  12. What about the nurses who never get appointed just sitting at home waiting ? If these nurses get an opportunity , what must they? Still sit down and wait? Old man time to spend your last days in a nursing homek

  13. You really think living off $1000.00/month in SVG in 2022 is super sir? Between 1983 & 1989 I was making $1,300.00 /month, With cost of living through the roof, no job security, and as someone said the bottleneck or lack of upward mobility or advancement is any incentive to even want to work in SVG?

  14. Wow! Here it goes again, nurses to be bonded.
    We were the first batch of RGN nurses to be bonded in SVG.. that was in 1990 and it was for the very same reason.
    Nevermind guys, you can still leave after that bond so don’t stress over it … look where I am now and many others of my batch mates.

  15. James Phillips says:

    why not make the Health services in the destination country pay the bond on a sort of finders fee basis or indeed similar to a football club paying a transfer fee. In the UK for example the use of agency nurses in the NHS is pretty lucrative for the agencies involved. Of course the details with respect to training and competency will need to be worked out.

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