Gov't Thanks Volunteers for Combating Coronavirus yet Employs Foreigners Instead

2021-03-09 - 10:07 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Responding to criticisms of MP Ibrahim Al-Nafei, Finance Minister Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said last Wednesday "those who protect the country, combat Coronavirus, leave their families and remain in the front lines will be thanked and appreciated like those who work for the country and protect public wealth. Allow us to praise those who deserve it and thank those who are doing their duty."

Hours after his statement, citizens used the phrase "kiss him on his head," as an expression of appreciation to those who faced the pandemic in the health sector and elsewhere.

However, active Instagram accounts posted a letter from volunteers in the front lines to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, saying that they signed employment contracts with the health ministry, but were later surprised that foreigners were employed instead of them.

Thus, the Finance Minister's statement did not hold up, and his credibility dropped.

Volunteers, who are a mixture of newly graduated young doctors who are still unemployed, laboratory technicians and others, confirm that the ministry contacted a number of them after a period of volunteering to hire them.

"We have handed over all the documents required by the ministry to complete the recruitment process and we obtained a license to practice the profession from National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA), and we signed the employment contracts that contain all the simple details like the workplace and job title."

"But we were surprised that our recruitment procedures were stopped without mentioning any reason and that the ministry hired staff from an Asian community who were trained by volunteers and other Bahraini employees."

Instead of being trained to replace foreigners, Bahrainis are training foreigners to take their place. This is only seen in Bahrain. 

These volunteers have worked for a whole year with no financial return, is the authorities' failure to employ them so far and hiring foreigners instead the appreciation the Minister spoke about?

Basically, health graduates (nurses, doctors and technicians) were not supposed to be unemployed, but everyone knows that unemployment in Bahrain is a political rather than economic problem. Large numbers of graduates with required university specialties remain unemployed, while the Government continues its policy in favoring foreigners.

Time alone will judge whether these kinds of statements- which make big promises- will have credibility. These volunteers are the ones who were praised earlier by the officials, and were considered the embodiment of the love of Bahrainis and their willingness to sacrifice for their country and their people, as combating the pandemic is not considered a simple event during which flags of the homeland are waved and songs of praise are sung, it is a hard journey haunted by death.

As a piece of advice, we will say: let the government's actions and practical steps speak for themselves and let the press articles honestly cover any achievement that takes place, this is better than empty words and promises.

Arabic Version