Covid vaccine Bills passed by Government
By Lindsey Turnbull
After two days of debate at a special meeting of Parliament, the Government finally saw its two hotly discussed Bills be approved, with some amendments to both, mandating vaccinations for Covid-19 for certain sections of the ex-patriot community. The two Bills, the Customs and Border Control Amendment Bill and the Immigration Transition Amendment Bill, saw MPs from both side of Parliament give their views on the idea of mandating vaccinations for work permit holders and permanent residents throughout Monday and Tuesday, with the Bills’ eventual passing on Tuesday evening.
Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Chris Saunders said that what the Government was trying to do was something no other country in the world had done, to open up borders safely but without going into lockdown. Cayman, he said, was learning from the mistakes made by other countries.
Civil Service should be 100% vaccinated
Speaking at the special meeting of the Parliament on Tuesday, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said he felt the civil service should follow the private sector with regard to mandated vaccinations. Mr Manderson felt that all new civil servants on work permits and those renewing work permits should have to be vaccinated, although Caymanians would be exempt; however he felt that the entire civil service, especially frontline workers, should be vaccinated, ex-pat or Caymanian.
Mr Manderson conceded that not enough Caymanian frontline workers who interacted with the public were vaccinated, putting themselves, their families and the public at serious risk.
The fact that some people in frontline agencies such as Customs and Border Control and Travel Cayman who deal with Covid positive people were not vaccinated was of concern to the Deputy Governor. The vaccination numbers were low, he said.
“One of my greatest fears from March last year…and today, knowing that a large number of public servants are dealing with Covid positive persons, get sick and God forbid die,” he stated. “But I believe if we don’t see a change in persons’ attitude we can see that happen.”
Mr Manderson begged all civil servants to get vaccinated.
“I implore, encourage, beg civil servants, especially those on the frontline to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” he stated.
He went on to say: “I think the civil service should lead in this area. Civil servants, except those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical grounds, should be 100% vaccinated. Seventy percent is not good enough. We strive for 100% in everything else we do. It’s life-saving.”