Time for Barbados Government to Issue Mandatory Vaccination Directive

If the blogmaster were Prime Minister of Barbados the following edict would be issued as at 6PM today:

  1. Effective 15 October 2021 all persons entering banks and supermarkets will be required to show proof of being vaccinated for COVID 19 as well as adhering to existing COVID 19 protocols.
  2. Effective 1 November 2021 all medical personnel must be vaccinated as well as to adhere to existing COVID 19 protocols.

The blogmaster is aware the legislative framework will have to be tweaked to support. To manage a public health crisis prioritizing an amendment to existing legislation should command unanimous support in parliament.

It is obvious to all Barbadians community spread of the coronavirus is out of control in Barbados, confirmed by key medical personnel on the frontline. The virus is exerting extreme pressure on healthcare services in Barbados. The mouthings of a seldom seen or heard Minister of Labour should be punished in the context of the ongoing public health crisis on a trajectory to get worse. This is no time for rh political games.

It is times like now real leaders must stand-up for the good of country..

358 thoughts on “Time for Barbados Government to Issue Mandatory Vaccination Directive

  1. Once you get to the realisation that it is in the water you also get to the realisation that it is the Governments around the world who are spreading the virus!!

    Quite a sobering thought!!

    Do they know it, or not?



  3. @ Tron

    I think it’s too late already to save the first part of the winter season, that is the December to January period. This government should of acted 2 weeks ago. Word from the hoteliers is that cancellations are coming in fast. The reasons being given is the high percentage of covid infections percentage wise, coupled to the fact that travellers worry that the island will be moved to red after they arrive. This would involve major additional expenses for them to then reenter the UK.

    Not looking good at all for we Fx inflow in Dec and Jan.

    • Minister of Tourism was heard to say on the news today Barbados has received a high number of cancellation and inquiries re: hotel staff vaccination status.

    • U.S. Embassy in Barbados pauses routine nonimmigrant visa service

      Article by Barbados Today
      Published on
      October 6, 2021


      The U.S. Embassy in Barbados is set to pause routine nonimmigrant visa services effective Tuesday, October 12 due to COVID-19 local conditions. While the Embassy continues to provide emergency and mission-critical nonimmigrant visa services, these appointments are extremely limited. Routine visa services will resume as soon as possible but the Embassy is unable to provide a specific date at this time.

      If the U.S. Embassy is unable to honour an appointment, applicants will receive an email providing instructions on how to reschedule their appointment for a later date.

      If a Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee was paid, it will remain valid until September 30, 2022. MRV fees are non-transferable. The U.S. Embassy cannot accept MRV fees from outside our consular district.

      The Embassy continues to process Interview Waiver (IW) and Renewal Interview Waiver (RIW) cases. The eligibility of this program was recently expanded, and applicants MAY now qualify to renew their visa by mail. To find the qualification to renew a visa by mail, please scroll to the additional RIW information below which details all eligibility criteria.

      Emergency Requests

      If an applicant has an urgent matter and needs to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-bb/niv, or call 246-623-9832 or 246-623-9833 to request an emergency appointment for B1/B2, C1/D, F, J, and M visa categories only.

  4. @ david

    Yes they uk people are saying they will not come unless they are ensured all staff are vaccinated. Its a mess unravelling this week up there. I have a friend in the industry there and he doesn’t know what will end up happening. You see booking means nothing its paid passages that count. So when you hear the politicians say ” oh the hotels report heavy bookings ” that means nothing as they have until 2 weeks before to pay for the booking to be turned into paid accommodation. Even with all that it still means nothing as the industry has mostly moved now to either 48 hour cancellation with no penalty or the more hard up players to no penalty for cancellation.

    So when you here the fowls clucking about how heavy the booking is that is like a car salesman telling you how many people drive by and look at the car in the showcase.

    • @John A

      When the dust settles the vaccine hesitant working in the hotel sector will have to reconcile putting food on the table with taking the vaccine. For some this is difficult given their fears, for others ignorance based on their news sources about covid, others principle positions.

  5. Wake up and observe the world

    AS I READ THE two news stories featured on Page 5 of the MIDWEEK NATION of October 6, I thought that one could not have asked for a more contrasting scenario to the views of Professor Don Marshall than that expressed by former Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy.
    Marshall is bringing down fire and brimstone on Hill Milling for insisting that its employees be vaccinated, while Sealy is asking the Barbados Government to push back against the United States government for issuing a Level 4 Travel Advisory against Barbados in response to the current situation, where our COVID-19 cases have begun a constant upward trend.
    Perhaps Marshall is unaware that very recently 1 400 employees from Northwell Health in New York were fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Nearer home, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines
    will pass legislation to make the vaccine mandatory for specified jobs.
    In Barbados, we prefer to pray only, while those with a voice like Marshall lead the faithful over the cliff, pleading as we go along the way with America and other places not to ostracise us.

    Source: Nation

  6. Rising cases ‘taking toll on productivity’

    By Colville Mounsey

    As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Barbados, the business community is concerned this latest surge will take a major toll on productivity.
    Both the Human Resources Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) and the Barbados Employer’s Confederation (BEC) have sounded the alarm on this worrying trend.
    In an interview with the Weekend Nation yesterday, president of HRMAB, Brittany Brathwaite, said with a significant portion of the people in isolation centres and quarantine “at working age”, businesses were already feeling the impact of losing key staff in areas critical to the functionality of their organisation.
    ‘Working persons’
    “When we see numbers like 318 persons positive in a day and we see that a large number of those persons are under 35, those are working persons.
    “You would imagine that for every person that tested positive, contact tracing would reveal several others, which is normally concentrated at work where you spend your most time.
    “Businesses are being affected by the trickledown effect of the numerous cases as well as the number of people that have to be taken out of the workforce, even if it is for a short period so that they could be tested,” said Brathwaite.
    Not enough time
    She further explained that in many cases there was not even enough time to find replacement labour, adding that some businesses were forced to temporarily close their doors due to the fact that critical members of their workforce had been impacted by the virus.
    “In some industries that downtime might be mitigated because people are working remotely but there are a number of industries where that can’t work. So, for example, in factories or in the tourism sector, some employers have to resort to keeping a casual pool of workers because they are afraid that an entire section, such as the kitchen staff, could be wiped out.
    Front desk
    “The same goes for areas like housekeeping or the front desk and it is proving extremely difficult to achieve this stability with these high numbers.”
    Meanwhile, executive director of the BEC, Sheena Mayers-Granville, said that the correlation between the surge and loss of productivity has been compounded by online schooling, as parents are required to be at home to supervise children during their classes.
    “The closure of schools this term is also another compounding factor. It is extremely tough for parents to juggle between home schooling and their responsibilities at work, even for those who are allowed to work from home. For those who have to work in a faceto- face format, their children are the ones who suffer,” she added.
    Newly appointed head of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Trisha Tannis, said the ad hoc closure of businesses due to outbreaks was making it very difficult for the private sector to get the economy going again.
    Anthony Branker, head of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that not only were businesses concerned about the safety of their staff and customers, but that if the trends continued, tourists would no longer be interested in visiting the island. He said this would have a devastating impact on businesses across the board.
    Weighing in on the issue of mandatory vaccinations, Branker said Government could not afford to tarry in meeting with the Social Partnership to thrash this out.
    “I am of the view that the Social Partnership needs to come back to the table to look at this position because certainly there are persons in key critical areas in businesses or in services around the country that really should be vaccinated. I am anxiously awaiting us getting back to the table to determine what is going to be the next step,” he said.
    Tannis also threw her organisation’s support behind this push, saying it was likely to come down to a choice between being vaccinated or having PCR test on a regular basis.
    No safe pockets
    “Certainly, there is fear because the spread is right across Barbados and there are no safe pockets on the island. We are talking about 160 clusters in a 166 square mile country. We have to, therefore, urge the population to get vaccinated or at least know their COVID-19 status on a regular basis so that they can take the appropriate action,” she said.

    Source: Nation

  7. We are descending into chaos

    I do not understand the actions of the Lionel C. Hill Supermarket and the Hill Milling Company. To date, the Government has declined to make vaccines mandatory. This means every individual is still free to decline vaccination even if we don’t agree with their choice.
    How can Mr Ashby insist that his dismissal of workers for being unvaccinated would be necessary to comply with his legal duty to provide a safe place of work when the very officer who is charged with determining whether an employer has complied with that duty advised him against terminating these workers?
    Sections 112 to 114 of the SHAW [Safety And Health At Work] Act give the Chief Labour Officer (CLO) the authority to police and enforce the provisions of that act, including the issue of improvement or prohibition notices where she considers a breach has occurred. This means it is the CLO who determines whether an employer has breached the duty to provide a safe place of work. The fact that the CLO by letter dated September 30, 2021, instructed Mr Ashby to withdraw his threat to summarily terminate the workers for being unvaccinated shows that she, as the authority for deciding breaches under the SHAW Act, did not consider terminating unvaccinated workers as necessary to comply with the duty to provide a safe place of work.
    Clearly, there was no and/or no immediate threat of legal liability under the SHAW Act, nor was there any immediate danger from the workers who had continued to submit regular negative PCR tests. Consequently, the summary dismissal of the unvaccinated workers was unjustified and palpably unfair and in clear breach of the fairness requirements enshrined in the Employment Rights Act.
    While Mr Ashby claims that the workers could contract the virus between the time they get a negative result and present for work, vaccinated workers can also contract and transmit the virus.
    A recent study out of Britain which examined over 150 000 records shows that people who are vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine have a 35 per cent chance of spreading the virus to close contacts which increases to 58 per cent three months after the second shot. For those vaccinated with AstraZeneca (AZ), the chance of spreading the virus to close contacts is 64 per cent. These are high odds, especially considering that the majority of Barbadians are vaccinated with AZ. So how is it justifiable to terminate workers for being unvaccinated when the danger of transmission exists even with vaccinated workers? Recent studies show that vaccine efficacy against transmission wanes after six to eight months.
    How many vaccinated workers have hit this sixmonth mark?
    Termination certificates
    Mr Ashby dismissed six workers on Tuesday. On the termination certificates issued by the supermarket, it said the workers were dismissed because of downsizing.
    Two of them have retained my services.
    I end by echoing some of the words of the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Industrial Court, Mrs Deborah Thomas Felix, who stated: “ . . . in order to discharge the legal duty to provide a safe environment as the law requires, an employer should ensure that he/she takes all “reasonably practicable” steps to help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as (amongst others) to ensure that employees wear masks, provide hand sanitisers, promote and maintain social distancing at all times at the workplace, maintain clean and sanitary surroundings and require that any employee with symptoms associated with the virus should stay at home and advise the said employee to contact the health authorities promptly . . . . Thus in my view, when all measures which are ‘reasonably practicable’ are taken to protect the workforce from possible infection, this can discharge employers of their legal duty under the Occupational Safety And Health Act. Measures which are ‘reasonably practicable’ should include the measures which have been prescribed by law.”
    Neither the vaccine nor regular PCR testing (when not directly or indirectly exposed to a positive case) has been prescribed by law.

    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney at law with a passion for employment law and labour matters and a budding social activist. Email: mrussell.ja@gmail.com

    Source: Nation

  8. The mechanics of political power

    By Ezra Alleyne

    When former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago cautioned that “politics has a morality all of its own”, some people, including politicians, opened their eyes wide shut.
    That also occurred when Forbes Burnham, then president of Guyana, said that politics was the “science of deals”.
    But leadership of small developing countries in modern times is a demanding, high-pressure occupation in which the leaders must be on top of their game at all times if they are not to be subsumed in the political snake pits. And “if you slip, you slide”. Fast-forward to early 2021. COVID-19 is killing people and devastating economies globally, and vaccines are starting (in February and March) to become available.
    The larger countries are (and continue) hogging the market. Poorer and smaller countries with shallower pockets are having to “brek for themselves”. Our Prime Minister describes the vaccine market as like the Wild West.
    Judge how right she was after reading this: The British press this past week disclosed that in March this year, France “stole” five million vaccines doses that were bound for the United Kingdom. Wunna think it easy?
    A huge batch of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines developed by Britishers but manufactured in the Netherlands was due to get to England in late March.
    But the vaccines were diverted at the last minute into the European Union (EU) scheme. The EU then blocked the transfer of the vaccines to England. Keen- eyed observers smelt a French rat in spite of the red herring plastered all over the trail.
    One source told the British Sun newspaper that “the French stole our vaccines at the same time they (the French) were slagging off (bad talking) them (the vaccines) publicly saying that they weren’t safe to use”.
    The report pointed out that French President Emmanuel Macron was one of a number of key EU figures who publicly questioned the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, branding it as quasi effective. Yet they were diverted. Relations between France and the United Kingdom fell to a new low.
    So Basdeo Panday was right. Politics does have a morality all of its own.
    I hope the British had been careful enough, like we were, to delay payment until delivery and testing.
    But what goes around . . . . Now hear this. About ten days ago we read of a tripartite deal between the US, United Kingdom and Australia to share top secret technology to develop nuclear submarine capacity in the Pacific.
    Wait for it . . . . Australia had previously contracted
    with (guess who?) the French to spend 48 billion pounds to upgrade its Frenchdesigned diesel-powered submarines to do just that.
    So Australia, it seems, will have to “cancel” this 48 billion pound upgrade contract with the French, and nobody said a word to France until the deal was done.
    French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drain described the new deal as “a stab in the back” and said he was “very, very angry”. Forbes Burnham was vindicated.
    Our first Prime Minister Errol Barrow fully understood international politics, but he used more elegant and nuanced language when declaring that we would be friends of all and satellites of none.
    All aspects of Barrow’s deep grasp of the mechanics of political power cannot be examined in a newspaper article, but think about this statement, made in 1987, almost a year after he had recaptured the Government.
    “We are running this Government, and the ultimate responsibility is mine. I just want to make it clear, and if you doubt that, read the Constitution. I am the last responsibility . . . all roads lead to home, the high road and the low road I am ultimately responsible. Who decides who is to have what different from the Prime Minister, according to the Constitution.”
    A similar view was shared by Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, who declared in and out of Parliament that a “Prime Minister is no longer first among equals. He is it”.
    Given these positive statements, how then can the present-day Democratic Labour Party (DLP) criticise the current Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for being assertive in her leadership when she steps out to defend the interests of Barbados and the region? Or when she reminds us that procurement of vaccines lies within the purview of the Ministry of Finance?
    Who else is boss, according to the Constitution? But then in the DLP, carts come before horses and, figuratively speaking, the tail always tries to wag the dog.

    Ezra Alleyne is an attorney and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

    Source: Nation


    3 severed Hill Supermarket workers hire lawyers
    By Barry Alleyne

    Barbados could soon have its first wrongful dismissal case related to being unvaccinated heading to the Employment Rights Tribunal.
    Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley and attorney at law and social activist Michelle Russell confirmed yesterday that three former workers of Lionel C. Hill Supermarket who were let go on October 4 had retained their services in the matter.
    Russell said a claim would be officially filed with the country’s Chief Labour Officer tomorrow and a legal challenge of the terminations would be forthcoming. Lashley said his male client had been given an ultimatum by the company regarding vaccination and when that was not forthcoming, he was sent home.
    On September 30, Hill Supermarket, through its managing director Richard Ashby, had indicated that workers who could not confirm their vaccination by October 4 would not be allowed to continue in their positions. He said then the company was attempting to maintain a safe work environment for workers and customers.
    Calls yesterday to the supermarket and sister company Hill Milling to speak to Ashby on this matter went unanswered.
    “I’m awaiting further instructions from my client regarding what exact action to take within the law, but we do intend to take action,” Lashley said.
    Russell said she was hired by two former Hill Supermarket employees.
    “I can confirm that two people who have been terminated by Hill Supermarket have consulted with me and I’m in possession of their termination letters. On the certificate it was indicated they were being let go because of downsizing,” she said.
    Russell said it was important to note that the date on the former workers’ letters of termination was October 4, which was also the date Ashby had publicly said was the last day all employers had to show proof of vaccination, an absence of which would lead to their services no longer being required.
    “These two workers turned up for work on October 4 . . . and their letters indicate they were terminated due to downsizing by the company . . . and we’re going to challenge it,” the lawyer added.
    “I’ve already advised my clients to go to the Labour Office to file their official claim for being summarily dismissed and I know the Labour Office has been notified they will be coming,” she added.
    Russell said the action to terminate could also trigger the Employment Rights Act.
    The attorney said she had also been informed that five workers had been terminated.
    “The reason that is relevant is because even if it is claimed the reason for dismissal was for downsizing or slow sales, as long as those five people represent ten per cent or more of the staff complement, the action would have triggered Section 31 of the Employment Rights Act of Barbados.”
    She added that what was important was that any employer wishing to terminate at least ten per cent of staff was obligated to have official consultations with those workers and any subsequent redundancy would not be fair unless a consultation was conducted with the affected staff members.
    “Those consultations should take place six weeks in advance of the termination,” Russell asserted. “No such consultations took place, which means these people were summarily terminated,” she added.
    “We are challenging the company’s actions based on Mr Ashby’s public statements made previously,” she said.
    “The burden is on the employer to prove the termination was fair and in line with the requirements mentioned in Section 29 of the Employment Rights Act.”

    Source: Nation

  10. Make jab a must!

    BCCI wants mandatory vaccines for front-line workers
    ADD THE Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to the list of organisations calling on Government to make vaccines mandatory for all front-line workers.
    BCCI president Anthony Branker also wants an urgent meeting of the Social Partnership so a way forward can be found to deal with the ongoing third wave of the COVID-19 virus.
    His call came a few hours after six more COVID-19related deaths were reported by public health authorities yesterday.
    In a statement, Branker said the executive council of the BCCI, which represents the voice of over 240 members from all sectors of business on the island, met recently and with one voice expressed concern about the lack of action by Government on the escalating COVID-19 cases and the impact this was having on their businesses and society in general.
    “The BCCI is calling on the Government of Barbados to get back to the negotiation table of the Social Partnership, where labour, Government and the private sector can carve out a sustainable future for all Barbadians, COVID-19 or no COVID-19,” Branker said.
    The businessman said the BCCI agreed at the last Social Partnership meeting six weeks ago to encourage and educate its members on the benefits of vaccination against the virus.
    “However, in light of the current deleterious situation, the BCCI adds its voice of support to the Barbados Private Sector Association for a vaccine mandate in the form of a risk-based approach to mandatory vaccination that will see all front-line workers vaccinated or tested frequently for COVID-19.”
    Time for decision
    Yesterday, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), which represents more than 70 hotels and
    accommodation properties, in a whole page ad in the SUNDAY SUN, called on Government to make vaccines mandatory for all workers in the hospitality industry.
    Branker said the time had come for a decision to be made.
    “As president of the BCCI, I must now ask, how many more? How many more potential visitors to our island will have to cancel their planned trip? How many more cruise line calls need to be cancelled? How many more doctors and nurses must reach their breaking point?”
    He also said Barbadians were being seriously affected by mental health issues associated with COVID-19 fatigue, and the children remained away from the classroom.
    “How many more of our children must be left behind because of the online learning? How many more businesses must be interrupted or closed? How many more jobs must be lost? How many more Barbadians have to die?” he queried.
    When contacted, general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, Dennis De Peiza, said he would not comment on the BHTA’s call for mandatory vaccines in the tourism industry, but did reveal the issue of mandatory vaccines would be the main item on the agenda tomorrow during a special meeting of their occupational safety and health division.

    Source: Nation

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