As the new COVID-19 guidelines continue to be a nationwide conversation, Executive Director of the Opposition Leader’s Office Aubrey Norton has pitched his two senses into the “repression.” According to Norton, Guyana can achieve high levels of COVID-19 vaccination without having to resort to repression of the people and violating their human rights where the recent measures announced by the regime will be counterproductive.
In a statement late Thursday evening, the Executive Director said, “It should be obvious to all that we are in the era in which the regime is using COVID-19 as a means of repression. Their decisions and actions will generate further instability and conflict. The PPP seems to be on a course of self-destruction.”
This statement comes after National COVID-19 Taskforce gazzetted new guidelines where persons must present their vaccination cards to access ministries, government agencies, bars, restaurants among other social places. Unvaccinated persons will have to make appointments along with a negative PCR test when visiting the government agencies. Bus and boat operators are being mandated to take the vaccine in order to operate.
Norton believes if the PPP was interested in vaccination as a solution to COVID-19, the government would have done a careful assessment of why some people are not taking the vaccine and then develop a response based on the data. “ Such an approach can result in a comprehensive policy that seeks to educate the populace, provide incentives that will influence people to get vaccinated. It should involve a wide cross-section of the population in a vaccination programme that is crafted with the involvement of all stakeholders and is nonpartisan in nature. To achieve the above, there is a need to ensure that WHO-approved vaccines are available in adequate quantities and easily accessible. The lack of vaccines in adequate quantities is in itself a problem.”
The statement also included if there are inadequate amounts of vaccines and there is a lack of means to enforce the draconian measures imposed by the government, then it should be obvious to the PPP that their policies and programmes will result in increased corruption, however unintended it might be.
Further, the Executive Director also believes there is a need to take action to depoliticise COVID-19 and treat it as a national issue by eschewing partisan politics and use it as a means of developing inclusiveness.