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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves today (Wednesday) appealed to teachers to continue to deliver online classes even as the union has voted to withdraw their services today and two days next week.

“I am disappointed to learn that a number of teachers, not a large number, who attended an online meeting of the Teachers’ Union, that a decision has been taken not to do online teaching for three days, today being one of the days,” Gonsalves said on his weekly show on NBC Radio

“Now, why would anybody want to do a thing like that? The reason, I understand, is that they want to protest against teachers being frontline workers and requiring vaccination,” the prime minister said.

The government has classified teachers as frontline workers, meaning that if they want to continue in their post, teachers will have to take a COVID-19 vaccine, unless they receive a medical exemption.

The union, in a press release, on Tuesday, said that a virtual meeting on Monday, decided to file an injunction against the government on the vaccination issue.

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The meeting, which has an optimal attendance of 183 members, also voted to refrain from online teaching today, as well as next Monday and next week Friday — Oct. 14.

“The membership will reconvene before the 18th October, 2021 to strategize the way forward,” the union said.

Students were scheduled to return to the physical classroom this past Monday, for the first time since December 2020.

However, a surge in COVID-19 cases, which has seen the country recording some 1,2000a active cases since Sept. 9, has put that on hold for two weeks in the first instances.  

To date, there are 1,279 active cases of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gonsalves said:

“You want to punish the students? You want to hold the country to ransom? What is so difficult about taking the vaccine? Teachers are, in fact, frontline workers.

“We were seeking to see whether something could be done there but the demand [is] coming from the teachers who are vaccinated and other teachers too and parents and what’s happening in other parts of the world, progressive countries, the teachers are vaccinated.”

The prime minister said he was hoping that teachers would have voluntarily taken the COVID-19 jab.

“… I don’t have the full figures but the numbers, certainly, are below one-third,” he said, referring to the fraction of teachers who have taken a COVID-19 vaccine.

He noted that in Barbados, 80% of teachers have taken the jab.  

“Now, if you have that number, you may not in those circumstances say that you should give the choice of either you vaccinate or find another job because of the large number of the teachers who have gone and taken the vaccine.

“Please, take this vaccine nuh — for yourself, for your children’s sake, your students. You can’t abandon your students at times like this. You can’t compromise their safety, you can’t compromise their education. I don’t know what could get in the heads of persons who are responsible to come to such kinds of conclusions. What you want to do? This is politics?  Is this just vanity? What is this? Because it just doesn’t have any rational basis.”

Gonsalves said that teaching is a job.

“Teachers are not doing  ‘a favour’. It’s not voluntary work. People are paid for doing this job. Come on please, take the vaccine, teachers. I understand that more and more people are taking it. Let’s not wait until the regulations come into force. Let’s get vaccinated.”

As of Sunday, 34,386 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in SVG, representing 13,556 second doses and 20,830 first doses.

The country has recorded 33 CVID-19 deaths, 21 of which occurred since Sept. 9.

Meanwhile, in an audio message to teachers on Wednesday, Union President, Oswald Robinson said that the union is “committed to the education and welfare of our nation”.

He said that throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the union has implemented multiple strategies to ensure that students were meaningfully engaged.

“We have also demonstrated such through our many donations to students and teachers during and after the eruption of La Soufriere. Our commitment is paramount at this time that some of our teachers are threatened with the loss of their jobs come Oct. 15.

“We call on all of our teachers to be united. Stand resolute to the cause. Stand up for the rights of all.”

He said that the withdrawal of teaching services online “is to send a clear message to the relevant authorities that we reject mandatory vaccination…

“We solicit the cooperation of all of our members, vaccinated and unvaccinated as we go through this very important period. This is a very important battle to defend our fundamental rights and freedoms,” Robinson said.

19 replies on “PM appeals to teachers as union withdraws online teaching”

  1. What Comrade needs to do is to start moving to the removal of all protocols. The only way to combat this is to have more persons exposed to the milder strain so that their immune system would have been primed before contracting the other variants; while encouraging those with prexisting conditions and over 60s to be vaccinated.

    Frontline workers barrier is a fallacy! Due to vaccine shedding which is a real phenomenon

  2. Pm should fire all of the teachers who wants to go on strike. Bring in the ones who took the shot and are waiting to be placed in a job. They are destroying the children with their education. Darn foolish vincentians.

  3. What about people like the sailors who had been home unpaid for several months and had to take the jab to go back to their jobs and whose contribution undeniably add real value to our economy. While on the other hand, teachers have been getting their full pay while complaining and depriving our children of their right to a proper education. This is just selfish!

  4. The union is using the children as bargaining leverage. That in itself is wrong. There are many more things that one can disagree with old bang guts on but this is not one.

  5. Taking the jab is no protection because anybody and everybody can still pass-on the virus. There are sick people who took both shots and they still ended up in the hospital. Even the two shots are not enough because they are now looking to add another. There is no guarantee that people will be protected completely. Then again no one knows how long that protection will last.
    I looked at a calypso tent in NYC recently and was alarmed at the number of persons in the audience not wearing a mask. These are dangerous attempts to prove what?
    One guy was eating from an open plate right in the center of the floor. To me that was just showing off and could result in passing or getting the virus.
    This virus is going nowhere because of some peoples’ behaviour.

  6. Okay; the Union President, Oswald Robinson said that the union is: – “Committed to the education and welfare of our nation”.
    Please; this is a Strong Statement to which I am hoping that the Teachers Union President re-thing and digest, him regarded an ‘Educator’. How is it possible for a professional to state such mission; and yet lead the team to refrain from teaching services online to aid those said children to which his mission statement are meant for?
    Where in this statement is the extension that says; this statement halts; should the ‘relevant authorities’ of government fail to provide us (teachers) what we ask for?
    My question: – where are the kids in the entire drama. Considering that teachers in SVG are among the best paid in the Caribbean as compare to other islands?

  7. I guarantee if many of you were in the position the teachers are in now, you all would be looking at it in a different way, today for them NEXT WEEK FOR YOU WAIT AND SEE

  8. Teachers must resist firmly this mandate. Every human being have a right over what they put in their body. The vaccine does not prevent infection nor spread. There is little to NO benefit of this chemical experiment upon the human body. No government have the right to VACCINE RAPE their citizens. This is no different from a criminal putting a gun to the head of person to compel them to have sexual intercourse with them. Governmental Vaccine Rape is CRIMINAL and must be opposed by every rightful thinking person. This NOT A VACCINE. What we were given as vaccine as children were real vaccine that prevented spread and infection. This so called VACCINE has little to ZERO benefit. This must be resisted. This is WAR CRIMES against humanity. This is no different from what WICKED HITLER DID TO THE JEWS IN GERMANY and NO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THE COLONIAL MASTERS DID TO THE NEGROS WHO WERE ENSLAVED and DRAGGED THROUGH the middle passage, raped and abused. This were all called legal and the colonial masters claimed they had the right to carry out these atrocities.

  9. Vin, I am glad that you are doing research. Too bad the higher-ups and many reading this site are not doing any research but basing their information from what they learn on CNN.

  10. “I am hoping that the Teachers Union President re-think and digest; his position and title role as an ‘Educator”.

  11. Why can’t teachers have the option of doing a Covid Test every two weeks if they so wish, for those who don’t want the vaccine? Is the vaccination of teachers going to prevent them passing on Covid to the children? Will ALL the parents be willing to take the vaccine? Will the vaccination of teachers prevent them from contracting Covid from the children, many of them having working parents? How exactly will vaccination stop or slow down the passing on of Covid from one person to another? I am not against the vaccine. I took my two jabs already. But the aforementioned questions are worthy of consideration because so far, no one seems to have provided satisfactory answers to those questions. Hence, it’s no wonder opposition to the vaccine continues. Someone needs to provide satisfactory answers to help people to seriously consider taking the vaccine to their benefit.

  12. I’m glad that there’s still a group of people in St Vincent who knows that they still have a right to choose stand and be counted

  13. Concerned Citizen says:

    The general consensus of opinion from the virologist, is that once a person has received the minimum of two jabs and allowing for a period of around ten days for the vaccine to ramp up to full effectiveness, the recipient is less likely to contract the virus or pass it on. The vaccine does not preclude a fully vaccinated person from contracting the virus, but greatly reduces the risk of suffering severe problems including death after infection, this has been stated on many occasions by the scientist. I cannot fathom why people who seem to exist only to sow disinformation cannot understand this fact. The more people who are vaccinated means the virus is less able to mutate, look it up doubters. The converse of the above would suggest that if vaccination rates are low then the virus can run riot unchecked, and whilst the earlier versions had a high recovery rate the current variant is more trasmissable, and more deadly, this is borne out by how quickly some of our brothers and sisters have passed after infection*. If we apply just a basic level of logic to the current situation, we should see that the current level of hospitalisation from this virus will soon overwhelm our underfunded health service. This will mean that our brothers and sisters with ordinary ailments such as, heart , liver, kidney broken bones, gunshots etc will have to be turned away, this could be you or a loved one. We cannot have the two types of patient on the same ward because of the very real risk of spread, we have been told that the majority of hospitalised C19 patients have not been vaccinated, and if what has happened internationally is a guide, then most likely the majority of deaths will come from this group. I do not wish to suggest that unvaccinated people are the architect’s of their own misfortune, if they contact covid and require treatment, but it does seem unfair that other patients cannot get urgent medical treatment because of these folks requiring medical intervention. I have lost several friends, and one family member to this virus, and came close to losing my dear sister, who managed to recover in the ICU, saved by the grace of God, none were vaccinated.I am not anybody special, but I believe I am my brothers keeper, so I beseech all who have not taken the vaccine to reconsider.

  14. Why people can’t live their life and let others live theirs? We can’t even make decisions for our very own children . If I took the vaccine it’s my rights, if I don’t take it its also my rights. God never force us, He gives us choices. The people with the jab should not be worrying about covid and dying, but seems those are the one who are scared to death, Those unvaxx not getting stress over you, why? There’s a time for everything, a time to born and a time to die.

  15. Never thought the Caribbean would be one d of the first to oppress their people.

    Why force people to take a chance to kill themselves. These Caribbean governments really get to hate their own people in favor of liking these international organisations.
    Ralph and brown out of all people

  16. All teachers should rally together vaccinated and unvaccinated. Today is this, what will they mandate tomorrow.

    They are slowly takjng away free will using fear.

    Tomorrow they will come with another fear and pass their mandates.

    This will continue until they control your very action. Capitalist thrive on such environments.

    A stand today is a stand for r your peace and free will tomorrow.

    Stand together.

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