No jab? Don't sit here
Inside the MunicipalitiesSaturday, September 11, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Government Senator Councillor Charles Sinclair has made an impassioned plea to his peers at the local level who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, to “lead from the front” and take the jab. And at least one councillor agreed, vowing not to sit beside unvaccinated members during meetings.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation Thursday, Sinclair pointed out that councillors' substantial influence in their respective divisions could make them valuable assets in the country's vaccination drive.
“[They] say a councillor is with the residents from the womb to the tomb, and people come to us for every possible thing I can think of. [They] come to us for some simple advice because we are the ones they see regularly, more regularly than the Member of Parliament. [So] as councillors we must, in this fight against COVID, lead from the front. Those who [are not yet] vaccinated must go and get vaccinated,” urged the senator.
He was disappointed, he said, to learn that there were few councillors in the municipality who were yet to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier in the meeting, People's National Party councillor for the Granville Division, Michael Troupe, caused an uproar when he took the stance that, going forward, he will not sit beside anyone who has not taken the jab. He then switched seats, distancing himself from one of his party members.
“If we are telling our constituents that they must become vaccinated and we are not getting vaccinated ourselves, how can we encourage [them] to do anything? It doesn't make sense you're up there preaching every day 'vaccinate, vaccinate!' and you yourself are not vaccinated,” Troupe told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
“So, I made the decision that I will not be sitting beside any councillor — be it the mayor, deputy mayor, or my own colleague — if you are not vaccinated, I am not sitting in any meeting beside you,” he added.
While the Observer was unable to confirm the number of unvaccinated councillors in the St James Municipal Corporation, reliable sources said at least three of the 13 are yet to receive their jab.
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