Palms worker in rooftop protest for nurses’ pay hike

A young porter, who works at the Palms Geriatric Home on Brickdam, gave the institution’s staff and inmates a shock yesterday afternoon when he climbed to the roof of the building and threatened to jump.

Stabroek News was told that the man, identified as Delon King, has been working at the institution for just about a year now.

At first it was uncertain why the man was threatening to take his life but his reasons later became apparent when he told his would-be rescuers—members of the Guyana Fire Service, the Guyana Police Force and the staff of the institution—that he wanted all nurses, kitchen staff, and other staff members to receive a salary increase of up to 25%.

 Delon King sits on the gutter of one of the Palms’ buildings as he spoke to the institution’s administrators
Delon King sits on the gutter of one of the Palms’ buildings as he spoke to the institution’s administrators

A co-worker, however, suggested that King took the drastic step because he had been drinking earlier in the day.  The Palms’ Principal Personnel Officer (PPO) Shelton Daniels, along with members of the Guyana Fire Service, was on the scene trying to convince King to come down, although King seemed to be more interested in speaking to Daniels.

“I want you hear me! All them nurses must get 15% not 5%!” he yelled from his perch on the roof. He also mentioned something about boxes of biscuits and corn flakes that were being thrown away. King also sent a message to would-be women beaters, promising to “be in the face” of anyone who hit a woman.

Daniels continued to tell King that he could not hear the demands he was making, and that he needed to climb down the ladder provided by the fire service so that they could discuss his demands. Inmates and other staff of the Palms were also seen calling for the man to come down.

King did not respond to these requests immediately and for a few more minutes he continued to demand that the salaries of the Palms’ staff be increased. He even pushed and kicked at the ladder on several occasions, prompting gasps from onlookers. During this part of the ordeal, Daniels was heard promising King what he was demanding. And when King said that he did not care if his actions got him suspended or locked up, Daniels promised him that he would not be punished, and that he just wanted him to come down to the safety of the ground.

King eventually started to climb down the ladder, although he stopped several times during his descent to reiterate his demands. He also, during his descent, pointed to officers from the Fire Service and Police Force, who advanced towards the ladder as he got lower, and ordered them to back off, which they did. There was also a police rank on the roof of the Palms with King, but he warned the rank to stay away, and the warning was heeded.

But, when the man came close enough to the ground, ranks from the Guyana Police Force rushed him and grabbed him, pulling him to the ground where they handcuffed him. “Wuh these doing on me?” King asked, while being handcuffed.

Delon King is apprehended by members of the Police Force and Fire Service as he nears the bottom of the ladder
Delon King is apprehended by members of the Police Force and Fire Service as he nears the bottom of the ladder
Delon King being taken away after he descended from the roof of the palms Geriatric Home on Brickdam yesterday
Delon King being taken away after he descended from the roof of the palms Geriatric Home on Brickdam yesterday

After allowing him to sit on the ground for a few seconds, the man was lifted by his arms and legs into one of the institution’s buildings. The man’s supervisor, Gary Prince, said that this was the first time King had demonstrated questionable behaviour since he has worked with the institution. The ordeal started around 13:30 hrs lasted for about 30 minutes.

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