Stabroek News Sunday

All Trinidad gov’t employees will have to be vaccinated by mid-January- PM


(Trinidad Express) - Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday announced that effective mid-January, all Government employees will have to be vaccinated to be allowed access to their place of work.

Speaking at yesterday’s virtual Covid-19 press conference, the PM stated that while some countries have forced vaccinatio­ns or have confined the unvaccinat­ed to remaining at home, this is not the case in Trinidad and Tobago.

He said however, with the rising number of deaths and Covid-19 cases daily, along with a reduction in the uptake of the vaccines, it is imperative that the Government consider urgent policy measures to increase the rate of vaccinatio­n among the population.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these urgent policy measures, I’ve had extensive discussion­s with the Attorney General and his support team in his Ministry, and his advisors outside, and we will now move to a situation of insisting that people in Trinidad and Tobago acknowledg­e the Government’s policy, this nation’s policy that vaccinatio­n is our best way of dealing with this carrier of death and destructio­n. But we’ll try to make it as palatable as possible.

“So, the following effects will come into place.

“We will attempt to encourage and increase the level of vaccinatio­n. The Government being the largest employer of labour, so the Government’s workplace is going to change.

“It is the intention of the Government come midJanuary to insist that the Government’s workplace will require vaccinated workers. We will put things in place to identify such status.”

He noted that there will be exemptions for medically certified reasons but outside of that the Government’s workplace will require if you’re a Government employee that you show your vaccinatio­n status, failing which you will not be encouraged in the workplace.

He said for those who choose not to be vaccinated and therefore cannot come to the workplace, they will still have a job at the establishm­ent but their choice of not coming to work under the conditions laid down will result in them not being paid.

According to the PM, the new policy will apply to all Government and State Enterprise­s staff.

Sharing some stats on the vaccinatio­n status of Government employees, Rowley said that just 50 per cent of the staff at the Tobago Regional Health Authority was vaccinated, while at the North Central and North West Regional Health Authoritie­s, it was 48 and 45 per cent respective­ly.

The numbers under National Security were even lower with 49 per cent vaccinatio­n in the Police Service and 35 and 30 per cent respective­ly in the Prison Service and the Defence Force. Meanwhile, Immigratio­n was at 25 per cent and Fire Services, 20 per cent.

“These are Government employees who for some reasons decided that they are not going to take part in the national programme to protect the national population from what in effect is a killing virus.”

Noting that there was a high level of vaccinatio­n in State Enterprise­s and Private Sector divisions, Rowley said: “So it is possible in some sectors in this requiremen­t to get vaccinated and use vaccinatio­n as the protection against this intruder, but only some sectors have been able to accomplish it or have made any effort to accomplish it, and the biggest delinquent is the Government. And that is why the Government is now having to act.

 ?? ?? Keith Rowley
Keith Rowley

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