No matter how you try to justify it, allowing vaccinated pupils to attend physical school and preventing those who are not is an undeniable form of discrimination.

Bad as it is to close the nation’s beaches or to deny one a glass of wine at dinner or to limit social interaction in all its forms, you cannot simply lump the children into a “one size fits all” policy of essentially hiding from Covid, and not trusting the people to care for their own lives.
For the children are the nation’s future, the architects of its destiny, and for such a task they must be emotionally and intellectually endowed to function in the myriad capacities required of them.

And from whence would such endowment come? From their education, of course, without which is a future generation of emotionally and intellectually underdeveloped adults without the cognitive capacity and emotional stability to deal with challenges the society would pose for them.

Are the planners saying such capacity is only for a select few who have fallen in line with their policy of “vaccinate to operate”, and the rest be damned?
Have they considered that in any human situation, not all will conform, that many may have valid concerns about this vaccine, that with all the anti-vax sentiments many parents would not want their children to be so exposed, that many are logistically debarred from responding to the call to take the vaccine because the “community” thinking is one of caution or even indifference, or that a rural environment may be a natural impediment; not to mention, of course, that theirs is the democratic right to freedom of choice for which they should not be punished, inter alia, and that you can’t just dump such children just so, that a way has to be found to educate them just as the others?

The onus is on the planners to see that these “non-conformist” children, for whatever reasons, are equally a part of the future of this nation, and virtually dispensing with them can never be an option; and that even as they try to persuade them into taking the vaccine, and perhaps improve on the online teaching, which incidentally is in itself a form of discrimination because of its obvious limitations, they must in the meantime invent ways of getting the unvaccinated children in the physical environment of the classroom equal to that of the vaccinated, masked if necessary, with masked teachers, social distancing in the seating, with limits to their movement in their free time, supervised by parents, with medical personnel on stand-by, so that they can share in this great responsibility of carrying the nation forward.

For to do otherwise is to say to the nation that we as leaders do not endorse the “value of every single human being” and to discriminate against some is justifiable collateral damage, and that for the future, that we should not should not look into the schoolbags of all the nation’s children as the Father of the Nation would have wished or, simply, that the future of the nation in a progressive sense does not really matter at all—for all that really matters is the mechanics of the politics and how we can use it to best serve ourselves.
But such couldn’t be. For leaders are made of “sterner stuff”, but is it? As usual, I leave the answer to you!

Dr Errol N Benjamin


On August 12, an unnamed high-level visitor to President’s House made an intervention that stopped the delivery to the Parliament of the Police Service Commission’s (PolSC) merit list of candidates for Police Commissioner.

It saddens me to write what I am about to, but it’s a harsh reality that we must face and fight, or, if we are the unpatriotic cowards many believe we are, then we might consider joining millions of others across the world who abandon all hope in their native lands and become refugees, moving like nomads anywhere the wind and fellow refugees take them.

The prime minister’s attempt to frame the issues leading to the collapse of the Police Service Commission and subsequent events as political “janjhat and ra-ra” is sadly ­misguided.

The inept handling of the affairs of the Police Service Commission and, more particularly, the imbroglio surrounding the office of Commissioner of Police leading to its eventual collapse have created an ongoing crisis that seems to have no end.

It is quite unseemly for the President to propose names of persons for appointment to the Police Service Commission without responding to the call from large sections of civil society for an explanation of the comess that occurred over the last several weeks.