Opposition MP Daniel Cummings has likened to turning off a life support machine, the decision of the government to fire public sector workers who have not taken a COVID-19 vaccine.
Data given by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsavles suggest that hundreds of public sector workers, including nurses, police officers, and teachers, have not taken the jab, as his government mandated.
“These people continue, even in these difficult times, to squeeze the life blood out of our teachers, our nurses, doctors, policemen and women, several categories of public servants on the flippant theory about the COVID jab,” Cummings said.
The West Kingstown MP, who is vaccinated but opposes mandatory vaccination, said that the government has terminated the jobs even at a time when “the rest of the world has awakened to the realities of the limitations of the vaccination, as useful as it is.
“I keep telling them it is not a panacea,” Cummings said on Tuesday on New Times, his party’s daytime programme on NICE Radio.
“And therefore to remove somebody from the perilous life support of a so-called job in the public service because oftentimes, before they receive their salary, it is gone in paying bills,” Cummings said.
“People are living, not month-to-month, day-to-day, hand-to-mouth, literally. And to take that away from people who have contributed so much to the country for so long. It is heartless.”
As of Dec. 3, 2021, public sector workers who had not taken the jab nor obtained an exemption are deemed to have resigned their jobs.
“No other Caribbean country is behaving in such a nasty way. None! Because you have people with a heart placed in authority. They understand that while the vaccines can help, it is not a panacea and there are negative fallout from vaccination. That is a simple fact.”
Antigua and Barbuda has mandated COVID-19 jab as well as booster shots for its public sector workers.
Cummings said that what is worse is that if a person in SVG takes the jab and suffers a serious side effect, they have no recourse to the government, the maker of the vaccine or anyone else.
He said that the vaccines are permitted to be used “as an experimental drug”, adding that people take it at their own risk.
“… and on top of that, you’re telling people you must take it and if you don’t take it, then you can’t work.
“Only people who are heartless, who are worthless, who are spiteful, who are corrupt and vindictive would administer such a painful, uncaring approach to the decent people of this country,” the West Kingstown MP said.
He said that history and time will show that the government would “suffer immensely for treating Vincentians as dogs”.