The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says it “firmly supports” the call by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union for the reinstatement of educators fired last year as the COVID-19 vaccine mandate came into effect.
“How could you put teachers out of a job when you allowed children, teachers, [everybody] to be absolutely free of any restrictions for the entire carnival season?” NDP chairman Daniel Cummings said on radio last week.
“How ludicrous, how revolting and disgusting this must appear to all those persons who suffered the indignity of being forced out of a bread just before Christmas, and up to now for absolutely no good reason,” he said on his party’s programme on NICE Radio.
Cummings, who is MP for West Kingstown and his party’s spokesperson on health issues, said that COVID-19 is the “big issue in health” in the country.
“And the lack of understanding, the lack of care, the lack of compassion that is meted out by this so-called government through, it alleges, … the advice of a team of technically- and well-trained professionals, who advise on this so called COVID mandate; a government that has rudely, stupidly, spitefully fired hundreds of earnest hardworking public servants in the guise of a COVID mandate, when in fact, their objective was to get rid of some, replace them with some of their cronies, with the hope of saying that they are improving the unemployment situation.”
He said the objective of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate was “to pretend that they are employing people, while at the same time sending home some of the best teachers and public servants when we know that the COVID vaccine has never been, and will never be a panacea”.
Cummings said that the NDP made it clear from the very beginning that while it supports vaccination as a means of controlling and reducing the incidence of COVID, “we totally disagree with it being a compulsory mechanism for anybody, especially public servants.
“But no, their objective in the COVID mandate has always been spite, hiring people and putting some of their handpicked people into contracts and positions. And that is what has happened. It has been an embarrassment. Just look at what happened for Carnival,” he said.
During Vincymas 2022, the first since the pandemic struck in 2020, thousands of Vincentians partied together despite their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Cummings, speaking generally, said that most people who refused to take the jab “have taken all of the necessary precautions more so than some who have taken the jab or said that they have taken it.
“Because they understand from the evidence around the world, that COVID is real and that it can be managed.”
He said that taking a COVID-19 vaccine “is not a panacea.
“That even more critical is to observe the other protocols, wearing the mask, keeping your distance, staying in the bubble, etc., etc. And the evidence is there. Some of the countries of the world that are 100% vaccinated have shown the highest level of increases in COVID cases. The evidence is there.
“And even though that has been so, these rogues, these wicked vultures, they insisted that public servants should be sent home.”
He said he was following the action of the Teachers’ Union and the Public Service Union.
“… and we in the New Democratic Party firmly support their position that those persons must be reemployed with an appropriate apology, and not only reemployed but reinstated with all their benefits, because the action of the government is unjust. You don’t need a court of law to tell you that,” Cummings said.