By A. Concerned Vincentian
About a week ago, public servants were notified of a new policy requiring them to be vaccinated or be tested twice monthly. Many have condemned this seemingly discriminatory and oppressive policy while many more have understandably remained silent, lest they be victimised, targeted or otherwise disadvantaged for openly denouncing the policy.
Certainly, there are those who criticise the policy privately. This is an unfortunate and undeniable reality in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Yet, many ULP zealots and devotees deny that such is the reality while others concede but seek to justify it by stating that this was the reality under NDP leadership more than two decades ago. This kind of diversionary tactic is known as the tu quoque fallacy, which does not resolve the extant issue but only distract you from it.
That said, all right-thinking persons not enchanted by the very eloquent prime minister would agree that the recent policy makes absolutely no sense!
First, a policy that strongly recommends vaccination or mandates testing only for public servants, to the exclusion of private sector employees and all others, in the interest of public health and safety, is risible. Can’t private sector employees contract and spread the COVID-19 virus to public servants and, by extension, the general public? In fact, given that those who are vaccinated may still contract and spread the virus to others, is it not nonsensical to place the focus solely on those who have not been vaccinated as if they are the only ones capable of spreading the virus?
Second, there has never been a COVID-19 outbreak at any schools. Even so, much focus is placed on forcing teachers to take the vaccine or be tested frequently. This seems to be a very disproportionate measure taken to protect students whom the data does not suggest are at the greatest risk. Who are the ones being hospitalised and dying of COVID-19? Is it not those with underlying medical conditions?
Third, any derogation from constitutional rights and freedoms must typically be necessary, proportionate, and or reasonably required to achieve the particular objective. How then can one reasonably justify such a policy as necessary in the interest of public health and safety, suggesting that the country is facing a COVID-19 public health crisis, when we are not actually under a state of emergency, the borders have always remained open, and no curfew has ever been ordered? Where exactly is this public health crisis which warrants such an infringement on the rights and freedoms of Vincentians? In the mind of the policymaker?
To reiterate, the policy is absurd and only serves to oppress public servants. Sadly, it has never been Vincentian culture to be collectively outraged at oppression, victimisation and violation of citizens’ rights. Many persons close their eyes to the problem and hope that it goes away until they themselves are found in the same predicament. Indeed, it started with the minibus operators and many persons remained silent instead of denouncing the mandatory vaccination for van drivers, disguised as a choice or an incentive to carry more passengers. Think about it, if the number of passengers can safely be increased for those van drivers who take the vaccine, why can’t it be increased for all van drivers? What does a vaccinated driver have to do with the spread of the virus among passengers? Does this make any sense?
Your rights are being violated right before your eyes and you are passive about it simply because you are infatuated with a charismatic, well-spoken prime minister whose speeches could make you willingly offer both your kidneys to save his life. Worship God and not your prime minister! Be your brothers’ keeper and speak out against injustice, even if you have to write an article about it and remain anonymous!
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].