KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – St Vincent’s Opposition Leader Godwin Friday is again calling on the government to reinstate public sector workers who were dismissed over their failure to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
He made the appeal as he lamented that residents were trying to figure out how to make ends meet amid cost-of-living increases that include the prices of gas and food.
“It is going to create tremendous hardship, and especially for those people who don’t have employment, for those people who the government has laid off because of the vaccine mandate,” he said.
“These are things that have to be revisited as circumstances have changed, and this is what I’m urging, I’m calling on them to do.”
Noting that authorities in countries around the world were calling back workers who were dismissed over the vaccine mandate, Friday added: “In St Vincent and Grenadines, the category of frontline workers was broadened so much by the government that it pulled in a lot of people who did not fall properly within the category. And so they need to now revisit that position, give the people back their work, give them back their benefits. Let them continue with their lives. They have had enough hardship.”
“People have had enough hardship, because of that policy of the government. And,… everywhere you hear restrictions are being removed, and people are gradually— in some places more rapidly than others — returning to life as it was before or better than when the pandemic struck,” he added.
He said while progress was happening elsewhere, the St Vincent government “seemed to be stuck in gear” while people were suffering.
“You wonder whether this is a public policy matter based on public health, or just simply they have the power and they feel like they will just do it until it pleases them to quietly change policies and call people back to work,” the Opposition Leader said.
He noted that this was happening even as the government has allowed Vincymas to go ahead, with all events open to people despite their vaccination status.
“…. Even though you have Carnival now, people jumping up and going J’ouvert and all that kind of stuff, still the government will not rehire these people who they fired,” Friday said.