Government backbencher Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines believes that sending home unvaccinated employees is evil.
The Sixth District Representative also believes that some businesses are using vaccination as an excuse to get rid of staff and carry out their planned downsizing.
“Employers hear me clear, and I know some of you will come after me for this. I think the act of sending home unvaccinated people is evil and cold hearted, especially when we know that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can contract and spread COVID
-19,” she said moments ago in the House of Assembly, September 9.
She added, “I am not arguing that vaccination seem to give better medical support to those who contract COVID
but the violation of [their] human right to chose what is best for their body immune system and current health status is unacceptable.”
The Sixth District Representative insisted that some employers are using the government's push for vaccination as an excuse to carry out planned staff cuts.
“Some employers are using this vaccine
encouraged by our government as a call to action, to get rid of employees. Some are even using it to cover up the fact that they are downsizing…It is wrong and it is evil. Presently, I know of two young ladies who are pregnant were sent home, they are not eligible for social security because enough contributions were not paid into the system.”
She asked, “what are they to do now?”
Further, she said when persons are sent home, they end up going to government members for help.
“The government cannot continue to carry that load, it is created by employer’s callous action. We as a government will topple if we don’t be careful.”
She however, applauded companies who have put proper protocols in place for employees who have not taken the jab, “for who for whatever reason cannot take the vaccine
Interestingly, last month Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie
said that vaccination policies are a matter for individual businesses.
Addressing the issue during a press conference on August 27, he explained that effectively, every company has a right to run their businesses how they see fit.
“Our position has always been that Government has no intentions of making the vaccination mandatory and persons have a right whether they want to take the vaccines
or not. But I also must state, and some persons wouldn’t like this statement, but businesses have a right to determine how they want their business to function," the Premier said in response to questions from the media.
He added: “So it will never be mandatory by the government of the Virgin Islands
, but all entities have their rights.”
Particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors, employees have been faced with a choice – become vaccinated against COVID
-19 or face stringent testing and in some cases termination. This has also been extended to other sectors, as well, particularly now that the Delta and Mu Variants were reportedly present in the British Virgin Islands.