On January 11th and again on the 12th 2022, as Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you suspended the Budget Debate on account of eight (8) members of the Government side of the House testing positive with SARS-CoV-2.
The government has always believed that its vaccination mandate was necessary to create a safe workplace. Thus, the purpose of Statutory Rules and Order (SR &O) 2021 No: 28 is cited as “to prevent, control and suppress the risk of the spread of the coronavirus-disease in public bodies”.
In pursuance of Regulation 5 of SR&O 2021 No: 28, the Government issued over 200 dismissal letters to public servants who failed or refused to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Similar letters of dismissal were given to public workers who applied for but were not granted an exemption. Many of these workers, categorised as front-line workers, had given more than a decade of service to the State. They stand to lose their pension benefits if not vindicated in the courts. They are now unemployed, many without the means to take care of themselves and their families.
The Government’s predicament in Parliament on January 11thand 12th 2022, exposes the illogicality, irrational and disproportionate nature of the mandatory vaccination policy. It has been known that none of the vaccines prevents anyone from contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2. Yet, the Government went ahead with its policy.
The PSU and the SVGTU maintain that any vaccine program established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines ought to be voluntary. Each Vincentian must exercise their right to bodily autonomy and integrity and exercise the right to choose based on informed consent regarding any medical treatment or procedure.
We again unequivocally declare that we are very concerned about the continued health and safety of all workers and their families.