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Home Headline PSU: Vaccine mandate = retrenchment

PSU: Vaccine mandate = retrenchment

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 17, 2021 — This week, a circular from the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Public Service, Political and Constitutional Reform, Rolando Zetina, contained an order for a vaccination mandate to be put in place within the public service by December 15, 2021. This gives public servants at least 1 month to be vaccinated if they want to continue to be employed by the government, since a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted. Those unvaccinated persons will not be allowed to enter their place of work and will be marked as absent and disciplined accordingly.

After the memo was sent out to the various leaders of the public service, the Public Service Union immediately conveyed its view of the new mandate to local media. The union’s president, Dean Flowers, told local reporters that the mandate is downright discrimination, and he went on to point out that the CEO in the Public Service Ministry seems to be sympathetic to the plight of public servants — despite carrying out what Flowers described as the will of his “dictatorial colleagues or friends or ministers.”

He said that he was made aware of the upcoming mandate via a call from the CEO, and he went on to state that, like the Barrow administration, this new government has not consulted with the unions on these matters or other COVID-19 related issues. He called the policy draconian and an indication of disregard for human rights.

“I view it as a discrimination of public sector workers, and I view it that it is another way in which the Briceño administration continues to carry out retrenchment in the public workers,” Flowers said in an interview this week.

He added that the mandate has caused public officers to resign, and with the deadline less than a month away, more government employees will either get the jab against their will or lose their job in the public service.

The PSU president also asserted that the government has no legal footing to implement this kind of mandate without passing some solid legislation that could make such a move legal. Flowers said that he believes that this will be done.

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