When my mother registered me in what was then Woodbrook Presbyterian Primary School, she understood that she did so with the condition that I was mandated to acquire certain vaccinations.
There was no discussion with me; nobody asked me how I felt about it.
When I applied to work in the Emperor Valley Zoo, I was mandated to get a Hepatitis B vaccination. There was no discussion.
When I started pursuing a Master’s degree in medical microbiology in The UWI, I was mandated to take booster shots in just about everything that was available to me. There was no discussion, no compromise, no asking about my feelings on the matter.
As an adult, we almost always have options, but we have those options with the understanding that every choice has its own consequences.
So, even though the dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences has not (as far as I know) given any directive that students under that faculty must be vaccinated, as an adult, I’m perfectly aware that failing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can bar me from interacting with patients or accessing the lab, which in turn is a death knell against completion of the programme.
I don’t need to be reasoned with; the nature of my degree puts me in harm’s way, so I need to protect myself, or the university must exercise its authority in blocking me from harming myself unnecessarily.
As a child, I don’t get to decide, because I’m not at that mental level to make that choice. So my guardians—my parents and the State—must make that decision for me, to protect me.
Should my mother have decided to not vaccinate me, she had the option of taking me out of the school population, and home-schooling me. There was no discrimination; we played by the rules, or we played alone.
Remember in the early days of community spread when parents expressed fear and outrage at having to send their children to school due to risk of infection and transmitting such at their homes? Why, now, when we have a way to mitigate that risk, are parents refusing? Why be okay with all other vaccines for children, but refuse this one? Why not home-school your kids? And why blame the Government now?
Parents, the rules have not changed: vaccinate your kids, or take responsibility for their education on yourself. Anything else is not discrimination by the Government; it’s discrimination by you against your own children’s human right to education.
To the other adults who insist that the Government is forcing them to be vaccinated (which is totally untrue), I will repeat: all choices have their own consequences. Just ask Norway, Sweden and Denmark—all with vaccination rates between 60 per cent and 75 per cent, all just about ready to drop all restrictions.
That’s the consequence of their choices.
Shabba De Leon


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.

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 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.