In a letter to faculty, staff and students of the University of The Bahamas today, UB President Dr. Rodney Smith revealed that some people want to be paid more money for working from home at a time when many workers in The Bahamas have been laid off and the country is facing “drastic and uncertain times”.
“I have been advised that some persons have represented that they want to be paid more for working from home. I have also been advised that some persons are refusing to work,” said Smith, while noting that the university had been facing “grave financial challenges” before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
Smith noted in his letter, “Even before Hurricane Dorian struck in September 2019, the university was facing a deficit of about $12 million for academic year 2019-2020.
“The saving grace so far this year has been the implementation of the Government Tertiary Education Grant Programme in July 2019. Many of our students who were part-time in 2018-2019 transitioned into full-time enrolment, taking advantage of the grant.
“Now, we are experiencing a global crisis, one that will adversely impact the growth and development of the university, like other universities around the world.
“Sadly, as you know from various reports, some people in other countries are attempting to capitalize on what is a shared crisis for the entire world. Unfortunately, it appears that similar sentiments are being expressed close to home.”
Smith noted it will take a very long time for the country to recover from these “catastrophic events”.
He added, “I am encouraged, however, by the level of contingency and continuity planning by our government.
“Now, we all have to do our part so that no one becomes unemployed. I implore you, then, to stand together and do the right thing in these precarious times. This is not the time to make financial demands.
“This is not the time to go on work-to rule or refuse to work remotely. This is the time to do what we must to endure these circumstances. We are working not only for ourselves, but for our families, our colleagues, our neighbors, and the future of the country.”
The UB president also pointed out that faculty, administrators and staff have been working continuously, meeting daily in some instances, via ZOOM, cell phones and WhatsApp, to ensure that the university remains in operation.
But he said, “Unfortunately, it appears that some persons just do not believe that they can contract COVID-19. It is most unfortunate because these same persons can cause so many others to become infected; and in some instances, die.”
He appealed to the UB family to stay home and practice social distancing.
“Even if you go out for a jog or a walk, you can still expose yourself,” he said.
“Do your exercises at home. Get into a routine. Get up as usual, exercise, shower, get dressed and have breakfast so that you are at your desk or computer in time to begin your work day at 9 a.m. Take your lunch break, relax, then get back to work.
“Try to be finished with work for the day by 5 p.m. and have dinner with your family before a relaxing evening. Watch comedies if you watch movies. Let the family pick the movie together. Please hang in there. Do your part. Be patient. Even though the worse is yet to come, this too shall pass.”