88 F Clouds
Friday, May 24 2024, 02:33 PM
Close Ad
Back To Listing

Rowley threatens Trinis over vaccine

Regional 28 Dec, 2021 Follow News

Dr Keith Rowley’s decision is controversia

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has given government employees a choice of being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or staying home and lose their salaries. This ultimatum has caused mass outrage.

Rowley set a deadline of mid-January for unvaccinated workers to get inoculated or they will not be allowed to return to work nor allowed to work remotely.

Rowley made the announcement following record COVID-19 daily deaths and infections.

December is on pace to become Trinidad and Tobago’s deadliest infectious month of the pandemic.

A record 33 COVID-19 deaths were reported last Saturday as well as 956 cases, the second highest number of new infections reported in one day.

The second deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic was also recorded this month on 15 December, with 32 deaths. November’s record of 462 deaths and 14,032 total cases looks likely to be surpassed. Tobago has recorded 166 deaths and 1,304 cases.

Rowley said: “We have come to the point where the Government will have to take certain actions. The government being the largest employer of labour, so the government’s workplace will have to change.” He said those who choose not to be vaccinated will still be employed, but will not be paid.

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) met with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi but with little sign of consensus. Accusing the PM of being “unilateral, high-handed, dictatorial” JTUM head Ancel Roget urged him to withdraw the vaccine mandate. "We are encouraging our members to be vaccinated. But we are pro-choice,” Roget said. "I myself took the vaccine, I myself believe in the science. But I believe it is the right of any individual to accept or reject and that belief is shared across the board by all members of JTUM."

Al-Rawi, in reply, said: "The Government is not in a position to withdraw its policy statement." He said the fact that the high number of deaths and the prospect of mass burials, and the doubling of Omicron infections every 2.5 days meant it was essential to act quickly.

"The normal process of collective bargaining does not apply in a pandemic," the Al-Rawi. Associations for police, prisons and fire ¬are seeking incentives for their members to be vaccinated such as extra pay and/or healthcare prioritisation.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in her Christmas message said: “I urge everyone to continue to follow the health protocols and to please consider getting vaccinated.”


Comments (0)

We appreciate your feedback. You can comment here with your pseudonym or real name. You can leave a comment with or without entering an email address. All comments will be reviewed before they are published.

* Denotes Required Inputs