No audience for ailing nurse
Former nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Coral Wilkinson Tuesday failed to get her desired audience with either Prime Minister Freundel Stuart or Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
Fed up with the run around she has been getting from Government since sustaining injuries to her back while at work 34 years ago, Wilkinson headed to Parliament today in a last-ditch attempt to get the Stuart administration to attend to her plight.
Moving with the aid of a walking frame and clearly in discomfort, the former nurse arrived at Parliament Building about 10:30 a.m. just before the start of the sitting, but was prevented from seeing either Stuart or Brathwaite by security guards.
As the clearly disappointed Wilkinson made her way from the building, she fell several times while descending the steps and had to be assisted by Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde and two members of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
She departed in a taxi summoned by the police officers on duty.
Wilkinson suffered the back injury while on the job in April 1981, and only yesterday she told Barbados TODAY she was at her wits end, and was left with no other choice but to try to appeal directly to Stuart and other members of his Cabinet, in the hope that they would listen to her cry for urgent settlement to her more than three-decades-old case for compensation.
In a brief conversation with Barbados TODAY before leaving the precincts of Parliament today, the aggrieved Wilkinson spoke again of her countless efforts and those of her attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, to have the matter resolved.
The ex-nurse is seeking compensation so she can travel to the United Kingdom for surgery to ease the pressure of her lower back and stop the crippling pain.
She said the Attorney General had spoken to Crown Counsel Roger Barker on December 24 last year to have her case dealt with expeditiously and that on March 15 this year Sir Richard had written to Solicitor General Jennifer Edwards asking that the case be processed with the urgency it deserved.
Not satisfied with the speed with which her case was being processed, Wilkinson said she called the Prime Minister three Sundays ago and was told he would speak with the Attorney General, who later told her that everything was on stream for this month.
“When I called the Solicitor General’s Office last week I got no response from her. I called the Attorney General’s Office twice and left messages, but he has not returned my calls,” she said this morning.
Back in February Wilkinson said she had received a letter from Principal Crown Counsel Roger Barker, who was handling the case on behalf of the Solicitor General, offering her $145,159.70 so she could have the cervical surgery done in Britain.
That offer was rejected in a letter dated March 12, 2015 from Wilkinson’s attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, who argued that “to offer the meagre sum in full satisfaction of her case, is virtually to condemn her to remaining in her presently helpless condition”.
While suggesting the sum of $400,000 instead, Sir Richard advised that the Solicitor General’s offer did not even cover the cost of the medical team in England, whose maximum fee is £33,000, neither did it include the expenses of going to England, which comprised such things as air travel, food, accommodation, internal travel and per diem allowance.