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Central Kingstown MP and New Democratic Party Vice-President, St. Clair Leacock. (File photo)
Central Kingstown MP and New Democratic Party Vice-President, St. Clair Leacock. (File photo)

Central Kingstown MP, opposition lawmaker St. Clair Leacock is appealing to teachers to vaccinate against COVID-19.

“If we do not, at this time, lead by example, the COVID outcomes in St. Vincent will be catastrophic, many of our children will fall ill, schools will be further disrupted, it will no longer be a choice of whether we have virtual or blended or unblended, or divided or undivided, whether schools open in October or December or whenever it is. It will be simply that there will be no school. Businesses will come to the same realisation,” he said on NICE Radio on Thursday.

Leacock’s comments came as students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have not returned to the physical classroom since December 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students were scheduled to return to the physical classroom this past Monday, but were forced to continue their education online because of a spike in cases, which has seen the country record 1,574 cases and 21 deaths since Sept. 9.

As of Thursday, there were 1,400 active cases of COVID-19 in the country.

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Further, as of Tuesday, 34,386 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in SVG. This represents 13,556 second doses and 20,830 first doses.

The government has moved to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for teachers, having deemed them frontline workers.

However, this is not sitting well with the nation’s educators, who voted at a meeting of their union to refrain from online teaching last Wednesday and next Monday and Friday.

“I am happy to say that for a person who has a business on the frontline, all of my workers have been agreed on their own that they must be vaccinated to do frontline work,” said Leacock, who operates a cleaning business.

“And this is a clear statement from me, St. Clair Leacock, asking our teachers to give further consideration to their position and vaccinate themselves and protect themselves and protect the nation’s children. St. Vincent deserves that. That is, in my mind, the best moral decision at this time,” he said on New Times, the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) daytime radio programme.

“Now, my position is one that may cause me votes, but so be it. I cannot be looking at St. Vincent’s outcome for what is best for Major, what is best for just a particular party in a whole exercise. It has to be what’s best for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And as I listen to what has happened all around the world, vaccination is the way to go at this time,” said Leacock, who is also an NDP vice-president.

Leacock said he has been listening to the debate and had heard the contribution of Teachers’ Union president, Oswald Robinson.

“And he makes, quite correctly, the point that his membership had a virtual meeting and the majority of the members voted to take a particular course of protest action in response to the government attempting to mandate vaccination for teachers.”

Leacock further said that Robinson has rightfully said that when the membership of the union comes to a decision, he is mandated to follow it through.

“And that is also correct and correct up to a point.  Because, … leaders, I contend, must always lead. And even when you are in an organisation and as democratic as it may be, and members give you an instruction, it is still, if you have a different perspective of the matter, to attempt to bring that perspective to bear on the decision that is before the membership. Not bulldozing them, not overruling them, but seeking an optimum consensus.

“In this matter of the effect of COVID on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is at one a private decision, certainly a private decision of all teachers, … but there is also a public purpose to that in teachers are also interfacing with your son, your daughter, my grandchildren who are in the classroom and that is a public exercise, that is a public good,” Leacock said.

He added that he taught at the St. Vincent Grammar School and was a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies and, therefore, has “an experience about teaching and how that fraternity feels.

“And wherever we are as leaders, we have to examine very, very carefully our legal responsibility in the decision we are making, we also have to consider as well in the legal decision the morality of that decision.

“I am of the considered view that at this time, and against the experience of the rise in the COVID situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, because that’s empirical, the increased number of deaths, and the clear situation in which our hospitals are overwhelmed, I believe by now, that every Vincentian family has had a COVID experience that is not good.

“I believe that in that background that our teachers really have to see and make a decision beyond the personal and be willing to look at what is the public good.”

Leacock said that he fully supports the position of his party “that we are not going to go the route of mandating and making certain things mandatory.

“But I fully accept the argument and I trust here that I am not in disharmony with that position, and if it is so, well, regrettably, I have to stand by my conviction, that is, it cannot be in the best interest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that you have a classroom of 30, 40, students, 15 — because some classes are small, some are large —  that we may have in the classroom, interfacing with our teaching, our children people who are not vaccinated or who have not been tested to be negative.

“And it would, therefore, best serve the nation’s interest that the president — and he may well be doing this — work even harder to convince his teachers that they be vaccinated in their own self interest, in their families’ self interest, in the students’ self interest, and the nation’s self interest.”

Leacock said he was making his comments on his own behalf and “on the behalf of the request of people who believe I carry some authority in St. Vincent on certain public interest matters and that I should speak to the matter again”.

He noted that last year, when he warned that 2,000 people could die of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines if certain steps were not taken, he was ridiculed.

“People laughed at me, people said, ‘You are causing alarm’, and there was great consternation and so on and so forth.”

Leacock said that people have “reversed themselves” and are saying what he had said has come to pass.

7 replies on “Leacock urges teachers to take COVID jab”

  1. Christian Anderson says:

    Mr Leacock, you are on point. You have my support in these arguments. I will further state the public good, collective society, ie PUBLIC HEALTH supercedes the individual’s health. Health providers and Universities traditionally and other educational institutions have already establish that precedent over 50 years ago. So what is new today. Unfortunately, we have approached the epidemic in too much of a divisive manner. So these are certain wrongs which still need to be corrected.

  2. Lulu had a bicycle the seat was made of glass says:

    Leacock, it may very well be because you’re too black and has little sex appeal that they don’t follow you. Sadly they don’t realize they are not Greeks even though they copied those things to the letter.

  3. The teachers have spoken and have made their decision, why cant you politicians and fearful folks respect the decision and choice of the people who have chosen not to be vaccinated even as they respect your right to take the vaccine. Furthermore, there is little to NO HEALTH BENEFIT to be gained from taking this chemical mixture call a vaccine. The so called medical experts and scientists have said that taking the vaccine does not prevent spread by the vaccinated and it does not stop the vaccinated from being reinfected with the virus. There is a risk of adverse side effect that can arise from taking this experimental drug. I know of women who since taking the vaccine have not seen their monthly cycle for several months and counting and this has never happened until after taking the vaccine and there are people who have DIED not long after being vaccinated and the media and some parts of the medical fraternity and government agencies do not want to talk about this reality. Now the educated fools may argue only a small percent of person suffers adverse side effect, my question to these folks is, would you have wanted to be a part of the small percentage of persons that suffered adverse side effect after taking the vaccine?? Would you have wanted to be that person that died hours or a few days after taking the vaccine?? Would you have volunteered if you knew for sure that you would suffer adverse side effect from taking the vaccine, yet alone would you have loved to be forced/ coerced and sabotage into taking vaccine if you knew for sure that there is a 98% chance that you could suffer adverse side effects given your medical history? This is why the sensible thing to do is to allow everyone to make their own decision with threats, sabotage or coercion, this way they can live or die with the consequence of their decision. A lot of persons have already caught COVID and have now developed natural immunity. There are studies out there that shows that natural immunity is more effective against the virus than that which can be gained from taking the vaccine. Why should government policies designed to SABOTAGE those who have natural immunity because they choose not to be vaccinated. Teachers, there are many people who support your right to choose. The vaccinated people can spread the virus to children equally as the none vaccinated. It is your right to choose to take or not to take and your right must be respected either way and your job shouldn’t be on the line because of the decision you make.

  4. So, In plain English, Give up your choice, believe everything you are told by multi-corporations & governments, don’t reason, don’t rationalize, don’t goggle the spanish flu. Do i get that right mr.Leacock?

  5. Johnkuumbacato says:

    Hon MP Leacock, thank you sir. I cannot remember where, but I read somewhere that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for….by now the excuse about the fear of dying from the vaccine is proven lame. The teachers speak often about their love for the children, we know they won’t be laying down there lives if they were vaccinated, but even if so, be willing to show by action that For love they are willing to lay down their lives for the children and the country.

  6. Leacock why not urge your family and leave other people life alone? Are you another dictator? You had the jab, so why are you worrying? You are so safe and secure from covid and death, don’t worry be happy. How will you live with yourself if some suffered adverse reactions post jab being pressured to take it? Come on man.

  7. The woman in the following video seems to be smarter than all the politicians in both our SVG political parties and our sorry health department that cannot do any research instead takes orders from phony Tony in the USA:

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