Respect for all in the vax debateWednesday, August 11, 2021
Like you, the executive and the general membership of the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) are shocked and deeply saddened by the recent assault on the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves by what appears to have been an angry protester.
It is never a good sight to see such hate enacted against any individual and, in particular, a head of State. This form of action must never be accepted as a common norm in times of protest or any other situation.
Whilst the CFPWA understands the cause of the protest and supports peaceful demonstration, we also must remind people that all rights come with responsibilities.
The right of the citizens to peaceful protest is one that, over centuries, has shaped our nation, the region and, by extension, the world.
We are not opposed to vaccination; however, we cannot support mandatory vaccination as it goes against the fabric of our long-established constitutional rights. We believe that everyone has the right to make a decision about what goes into his/her body.
We must also bring to your attention article 7 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.”
It is to be noted that we are now in phase 3 of clinical trials for the vaccine that has been approved for emergency use.
We unequivocally condemn the assault on the prime minister and any citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines and look forward to the culprit being brought to justice.
It is our firm belief that no one should be targeted or harmed for their position on this important issue. We affirm our institutional commitment to, and call for, respect for all.
We must dedicate ourselves to advancing a learning and working environment that supports the intellectual development, flourishing sense of belonging, and freedom of expression and conscience of all citizens. In a society striving to achieve these goals, acts of hatred and violence have no place.
The executive and the general membership of the CFPWA wish the prime minister a speedy recovery.
Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations