It's a matter of property rights, plain and simpleMonday, September 13, 2021
With the greatest of respect to the attorneys advising our dithering Government and private sector, as well as the legal luminaries Sir Dennis Byron and Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine in their advice to the Eastern Caribbean states ( Jamaica Observer, Friday, September 10), I fail to see why we have to get into the weeds of arcane constitutional law to determine the matter of vaccine mandates.
It seems to me to be a matter of property rights, plain and simple.
Surely the property owner, whether of a home, a business establishment, or government building, has a right to determine who shall come on his or her property, during what hours, on which days, in what dress code (no mask, no service), and in what state of health. The two legal luminaries tacitly, but not expressly, acknowledge this when they state in their legal opinion, and in reference to the Government's ability to mandate vaccines for students for smallpox, measles, etc, that the governments are “mandating vaccines for children's entry into schools”. It is at the school gate (ie property) that the Government has leverage. The same Government has no leverage over students no longer in school, for whatever reason.
The owner of a Negril beach bar may well allow a patron to buy a drink barefooted and in a bikini; the owner of an upscale restaurant may think differently. Both are within their rights. The Government and business owners surely have a right to mandate that people on their property must wear masks and be vaccinated; likewise, an employee who can reasonably work remotely should be permitted to do so. But the Government would have far less leverage to mandate vaccination for a self-employed person working from home or the unemployed. It cannot hold someone down and put an needle in their flesh.
The Canadian Government, which has jurisdiction over rail and air transport, has mandated that only the vaccinated may travel on these facilities. The Jamaican Government, given the rambunctious public transport system, would likely have leverage to enforce a vaccination mandate only when the drivers are applying for a licence or renewal of same.
With infection rates past 70,000 and deaths nearing 1,700, it is well past time for the Government to act. No need or requirement, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness asserts, for any more talking or persuading of an indisciplined society. Just do it.
Errol W A Townshend
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login