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Ronnie Daniel, left, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photos)
Ronnie Daniel, left, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photos)
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By Ronnie Daniel

Dear Prime Minister ,

It has been a very challenging year for you and your cabinet and indeed all of us as citizens (some more than others) of this beloved nation. I, therefore, wish you and your family a reflective and restful Christmas. Indeed, this time of year is as good as any to do some intro and retrospection. But before I go into the substance of this letter, please allow me the pleasure of calling you Ralph as it allows for a more personal conversation (as between two citizens) and reduces the temptation to engage in political massage and polite platitudes. 

My embrace of you began in 1994 (an election year) when you extended to my classmate and I, the courtesy of a ride from Campden Park to Kingstown where we both lived (you may not remember this). But, as two impressionable Form 6 students, we were just excited enough to be given a ride home by a popular politician in a Pajero. From my recollection, you were quite jovial and endearing.  If I am not mistaken, you were also trying to determine where we stood politically, since we were both first time voters.  I must confess, though, that the late John Horne ruled West Kingstown and did get my vote that year. The rest is history. I went off to Jamaica and you continued your political activism and were eventually elevated to the highest decision-making institution of our land. 

Our friendship was rekindled and cemented through our late beloved friend and national treasure, Oscar Allen.  Interestingly, Oscar has been on my mind lately. The truth is, I do miss him at such a time as this. He would have challenged, protested and denounced your government’s actions regarding mandatory vaccination and would have ensured  that others did likewise. Therefore, in his spirit, and out of deep respect and love for Oscar and my embrace of the principles of fairness, justice, and inviolable rights — teachings of the Church, I have been moved to pen this note to you.

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Ralph, your government’s mandatory vaccination policy — “Jab or No Job” — is in stark contradiction to our community “up- bringing”, religious ethos and the social teachings of the Church.  Love for neighbour demands that we hold in harmony the needs of the individual as much as we do for the many. The good of the many cannot be at the expense of the one, otherwise the lessons of the parable of the lost (Coin, Sheep, Son etc.) found in the Gospels would be empty and meaningless to those who find faith and solace in Holy Scriptures. 

What I am saying is this:, governments have to make tough decisions in the interest of the common good of their citizens and sometimes, these decisions have serious consequences. But I am equally convinced that governments must also make moral decisions over and above what might be legal in the interest of preserving inviolable rights and freedoms that hold societies together. The government’s decision to effectively deprive a section of its citizens the ability to “put bread on their table” for not taking a vaccine is disturbing, vulgar and most definitely immoral.  “Good” public policy ought not to make citizens worst off on the account of the implementation of that policy. On the contrary, “good” public policy should enhance and make the human condition and peoples’ lives better.  Isn’t this what your party’s 2020 election campaign slogan promoted, “Lift SVG Higher”? If not, then, it was simply a “noisy gong and a clanging cymbal”to the ear. 

How does a government that claims to be a workers’ and peoples’ government say to workers, ‘You must not live if you don’t take my vaccine”?  Well, that cannot, by any reasonable standard of interpretation, be a “choice”. That is tantamount to economic torture.  Ralph, as I write, hundreds of public sector workers including teachers, police officers and others are on the breadline. They have served this country with distinction for 5, 10, 20 and some over 30 years. What crime have they really committed against the state or their fellow workers? Incidentally, or so it seems, the same categories of workers who were primarily responsible for the accession to power of the Unity Labour Party have now become expendables 20 years after. Time does really tell a story, as the old people say.

Ralph, I urge you and your cabinet to strongly revisit the vaccination policy, which has caused much pain and unnecessary distress to hundreds of our citizens and is likely to continue into the new year. What better time to do so than Christmas? As I close, I appeal to you through the words of the Hebrew Prophet, Micah, who fiercely advocated that justice be done in all human undertakings. Listen to him again, “You have been told, ‘O Man, what is good, and what Yahweh requires of you: to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God’  Those who have ears to hear, let them hear! 

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

15 replies on “A personal appeal to Ralph at Christmas”

  1. It’s a good letter. Here in the united states they are getting the same kind of treatment like in saint Vincent. Some private sector if their workers refuse from taking the jab they are suspended or given time to make up their mind. Saint Vincent is a small country and it is very easy to spread the variant if they are not protected. The churches who are not abiding by the government rules also should be closed until they get their act together.

  2. Good try Ronnie! Haven’t you read my “Be a Good Neighbor” Christmas message?
    …”do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God, happy Christmas, prosperous New Year, SVG”…etc,etc. As you indicated in your piece, “I run things in dis here country”.
    You see, my old friend; HUBRIS, not HUMILITY has taught me to use and choose my words carefully. I too, like John Quincy Adams, “Search the Scriptures”.
    The Power is held by the People but as long as you keep that knowledge from them, you “run things”!

  3. Orlando Delex Alexander says:

    Very sound and profound. Simple but prolific enough to disturb the thoughts of any conscious reader. This should be framed and archived for our future generations as not only a memorabilia but a pledge to the conscious freedom of humanity and the liberation of colonialism..

  4. Excellent. The kind of approach the Church should have been taking. Thanks for pointing a way. Hope the seed you have planted falls on fertile ground.

  5. Whereas I can support a mandate, I can never support that the consequences of not taking the vaccination is to lose your job, and even your pension.
    What about putting the onus on the employee to prove that he/she is COVID free by presenting a negative test at whatever frequency is appropriate.

    Whilst this is happening, people should be coaxed, cajoled and educated as to why they should be taking the vaccination.

    I know there is genuine fear in the population as a result of all the conspiracy theories being spread. I am not saying this is the case for everyone, but the propaganda has been very effective. And our Government officials are not altogether innocent in the situation we have found ourselves in today.

    It’s a two way street, and persons must be taken through the process of being your brother’s keeper by taking the vaccine to protect others. Both the vaccinated and the non vaccinated have rights.
    Some people with medical situations feel that they are not taken seriously. I feel the medical policy should be carefully reviewed to ensure people’s complaints are not just dismissed

    On another note, tourists are walking about Kingstown without masks. What is the message being sent to Vincentians. I am vaccinated, and I wear a mask at all times, why not them? We know of breakthroughs.
    So whilst Vincentians are being punished for not doing “the right thing”, other are allowed to do” the wrong thing”
    let us encourage our fellow Vincentians to do their research, listen to medical and professional advice and to avoid the propaganda on social media and also to be selfless by doing what is necessary to protect other Vincentians as well as themselves.

  6. Dr. Garrey Michael Dennie says:

    Dear Ronnie

    I am aware that your letter is directed to the Prime Minister and that he has an abundant capacity to reply to your question. But two things compel me to make my own intervention. First, I have deep respect for you. Second, the question you are raising is of paramount national urgency in St. Vincent, namely, does the government have a right to require vaccinations for specific jobs, absent which the worker would be deemed to have abandoned his job?

    I submit to you that in the face of a pandemic which has killed millions across the world and which have already sickened and killed Vincentians, it would be absolutely immoral for the government to allow unvaccinated Vincentians to expose other Vincentians to a lethal threat when vaccines exist to reduce that threat substantially.

    The ethical problem here is one between irreparable harm and remediable harm. If an employee loses his job that is certainly a harm…but it is remediable. That worker may find another job. But if that unvaccinated employee exposes his co- worker or unvaccinated children to the virus which then kills that person, that harm is irreparable. There is no resurrection into this life.

    I have been deeply shocked at the seeming willingness of many who proclaim the right not to be vaccinated but clearly fail to recognize that they do not have the right to expose others to a lethal disease. How is that morally acceptable? The ethical and moral barometers here weigh more heavily to protecting people from the greatest harm. None is greater than the protection of their lives. So as much as I do sympathize with your claim that loss of a job imposes a great harm on those who have lost their income, it seems to me that you cannot ask people to risk death so that others could preserve their jobs when in fact we do have effective vaccines that can dramatically reduce the risk of exposure to a lethal disease.

    Morality is not like beauty…in the eyes of the beholder. It is an assessment of measurable risk and harm that human beings confront and how we respond to this. In my judgment, the most moral thing the government of S.Vincent and the Grenadines can do in this particular moment is mandate the vaccine across the entire civil service. For one thing is certain: it will save lives.

    I submit that this carries a greater moral urgency than saving jobs.


    Dr. Garrey Michael Dennie

  7. You will never change the course of a devoted tyrant, a nice polite letter but will not be appreciated and will be a sign of weakness. When dealing with tyrants you yourself have to portray nastiness, that is all they understand.

  8. Re the “human condition”…

    The TRUE human condition or world we live in is about 2 pink elephants in the room and has never been on clearer display than with the deliberate global Covid Scam atrocity and you better pay close attention to it — check out “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” at w w w d o t CovidTruthBeKnown d o t c o m

    “[…] when you do things to people against their will and force them it destroys their spirit, it destroys the integrity of their body. […]. Being an adult is meaningless if you cannot even protect the integrity of your own body.” — Jennifer Daniels, MD, MBA, Holistic Doctor

    If your employer (even educational or federal employers) wants you to take a Covid vaccine give him/her one of these form letters of exemption found at w w w d o t lc d o t o r g/exempt

    By the way, with the letters of “omicron” an alleged Covid variant you can spell “moronic”…

    And further speaking of stupid herd people not getting the glaringly obvious truth/ie not getting the constant onslaught of BIG lies of the official authorities……

    The world we live in and what the human condition is really is encapsulated in the following reality:

    “2 weeks to flatten the curve has turned into…3 shots to feed your family!” — Unknown

  9. Put man put, put all you know but seriously Ralph is making it up as hé go? He’s so used to doing what hé feels like, so other people’s point of view doesn’t matter. No matter what. What about the science? what about the testing? How does Ralph want to justify this to the poor people? This dramatic overreach to fire people and take away their benefits after they worked for years to build theeservies. PM handling this very badly.

  10. Ralph is a socialist. What do all socialists have in common? They support absolute govenment control over all people. In socialist sicieties, government owns your person, your children, and your very thoughts. As long as he is and remains at the top of the social, political, and socialist hierarchy, Ralph doesn’t care about any individual having the right to own his/her own body.

  11. Anthony Stewart, PhD says:

    How can we discriminate against the Unvaccinated when the Vaccinated can also contract and spread the virus just as well? It seems to me that prevention, and testing should be emphasized.

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