The opposition New Democratic Party has slammed as “a vaccine madness” the law that came into effect last December, mandating certain government workers to take a COVID-19 vaccine to remain in their job.
“Well, first of all, it is not a vaccine mandate, it is a vaccine madness because it’s not based on anything that is common sense or logical or in the best interest of the state,” said Cummings, the opposition spokesperson on health matters.
“To use the vaccine as a mechanism to fire people borders on criminality because you are forcing people to do something against their conscience and give them no way out.
“And in a time like this when unemployment is so high and even if you are employed, conditions are miserable, to do something like that is a vaccine madness, it is not a mandate.”
Hundreds of teachers, as well as other government workers were dismissed from their jobs for failing to take a COVID-19 vaccine by last December.
“And it is clearly not based on any science or any health, it is based on wickedness and spite and [Opposition Leader] Dr. [Godwin] Friday is quite right; you’re using ‘may’ and ‘consider’-it just speaks to the lack of reality in the mind of this goodly gentleman, he has lost it.”
He was referring to the prime minister saying this week that his government “may consider” re-hiring unvaccinated teachers.
“Anybody with common sense, anybody looking at the facts will tell you that the vaccination in its format, as being a trial vaccine, can never be used as a weapon to fire people,” said Cummings, who has publicly stated that he is vaccinated and has urged other people to take the jab.
“You cannot compel people to take something that is a trial, because you have no guarantee to offer the people should something go wrong, as a consequence of taking the vaccine. That is a simple fact.”
He noted that Gonsalves is a lawyer.
“… you don’t need to be trained as a lawyer to understand that that makes absolutely no sense that you will compel me to take something for which you offer me no guarantee, for which you offer me no evidence that it is guaranteed to help me or to help the country.”
Cummings, who is chairman of the NDP, said that has always been the party’s position.
“While we agree that the vaccination can help, it offers absolutely no guarantee whatsoever. And in fact, the reverse is that there are a number of persons who have suffered and died as a consequence of taking the vaccine, simple reality.
“Therefore, in the circumstances, as they are, and have been for some time, who in their right mind would place people’s livelihood on the line on the basis of taking a jab that at best, has hope and at worst can cause your death and which offers no guarantee?”
He said the government’s reaction to vaccination “to me it just typifies what passes for governance in this country: no clear policy, no respect for human life, or human rights and just what comes from the almighty, five-star dumberall, that’s what matters, the dictates of this one colossal — let me leave it at that, one joker of an extreme kind; his dictate is the only thing that matters.
“Forget about the science; forget about the evidence; forget about all clear facts and the experience around the world. His belief, his position is all that matters. And it applies in so many things,” Cumming said, adding that this was also demonstrated in the appointment of Sean Rose as the new director of the Agency for Public Information.
“Forget about the professionals who have been in the job who are competent, and who have the ability and the experience. This is the man who I bought in regardless of his ability and or qualification. Forget about those who were aspiring to hold that job; I say this man will take that job and that is a case.
“Forget about filling positions at foreign missions. I handpick this man, the most loyal to me. Who cares about his qualifications or whether he is an embarrassment to the country? I have selected him and what I say goes, who is there to argue with me. You cannot run a country like that,” Cummings said.
Cummings said that in the area of health and in particular with the vaccine mandate, “the NDP stands firmly with the teachers, the public servants, and other state employees who have been unceremoniously, wickedly and without reason fired from their jobs because of the dictates of one man.
“And we ask, as we have been doing before, Dr. Friday has repeatedly made a call for reinstatement of all public officers on the terms consistent with where they were as if they were never fired as if they didn’t have stopped working. And that call goes out in a most forceful way. Today, people deserve better.”