The Public Service Union (PSU) of Belize is this week at odds with the Government following their latest announcement which is now subjecting all public officers and front liners to mandatory vaccination by December 15th, 2021.
President of the PSU Dean Flowers told our newsroom that despite claims made by the Minister of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher, which stated that the PSU had been consulted on the matter, Flowers said that he was not. In fact, Flowers maintains that prior to the dissemination of the email by CEO Rolando Zetina, Zetina had given him a courtesy call, informing him of the new mandate and even going as far as to say that it was already beyond his control. Flowers then went on to refer to the new changes as a form of discrimination against public officers and one that he says the PSU intends to follow up with legally.
We also reached out to the President of the APSSM Sharon Frazer for her comment on these changes but she told our newsroom that while Flowers was lucky enough to get a courtesy call to inform him of the changes she was not so lucky. Despite that Frazer said that she could not offer any official comment in her capacity as APSSM President because she hasn’t had a chance to consult with members as yet since she was not informed prior to the dissemination of the memo. Frazer, however, indicated that personally, she does not have a problem with the changes and that in fact the majority of the members, of the judiciary have already gotten inoculated so the regulations will not affect that particular group of population.
The Reporter also followed up with Commandant Captain Elton Bennett for his views of subjecting his officers to mandatory vaccines. Bennett told us that he is in full support of mandatory vaccinations and that in fact, 98% of his staff has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 73% have been fully vaccinated. Bennett is estimating that 90% of his officers will be fully vaccinated by the end of the month.
Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher, indicated, “The objective is to continue to get the vaccine levels higher. Citizen safety is the primary objective. The health and wellness of all Belizeans are always at the forefront.”
The memo dated November 15th informed that as of 15th December 2021, all public officers and frontline workers must show proof that they have been vaccinated either fully or partially and that the option of showing proof of a Rapid Test or PCR Test is no longer an option. Any public officer or frontline worker who fails to provide a copy of their Vaccination Card, will not be allowed in the office. They also be marked absent from work and will be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.