ANUG condemns ‘draconian’ rules against unvaccinated persons

Opposition political party A New and United Guyana (ANUG) has condemned moves by the Government to implement what it refers to as a “draconian” policy restricting unvaccinated persons from accessing public services and facilities.

The Government in its Emergency COVID-19 measures for the month of August has implemented several measures for persons who are not vaccinated against the disease. These include the need for appointments and a negative PCR COVID-19 test to access various public services.

ANUG in a statement on Tuesday said this policy may have implications on the constitutional and civil rights of citizens, adding that there has been no proper reason or explanation for this move.

The party raised several questions which have been in the public domain but not properly answered by the administration. It noted that given persons can contract COVID-19 even after vaccination, there needs to be clarity on whether a vaccinated person with the disease is more or less contagious. According to ANUG, inquiries suggest that there is no data to indicate that the virus is more likely to mutate in an unvaccinated person than in a vaccinated person.

“If these conclusions are correct, then unvaccinated persons are a threat only to themselves.  To argue that a person who has been vaccinated so as to have mild symptoms is put at risk by being infected by someone who has not been vaccinated borders on the ridiculous, more so since he can also be infected by someone who has been vaccinated.

“In that case, the Government’s policy of exclusion is unfairly discriminatory, and cannot be justified by a vague suggestion that vaccinated people need to be protected or separated from unvaccinated people,” ANUG argued.

The party invited the Government to debunk its claims noting that the Government has a duty in a democracy to explain to the public why it has adopted the policy of isolating the unvaccinated by restricting their access to public services in breach of their civic rights.

The statement was issued on the heels of the Speaker of the National Assembly disallowing a motion from the Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon to debate the issue in Parliament.

“ANUG expresses its support of the motions proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, and its regret at its rejection by the Speaker. In a democratic society, in this frightening pandemic, the Government’s obligation is not to enforce its policy by removing civic and constitutional rights on dubious grounds; its obligation is to provide the public with real and clear information to enable and empower the people to make educated and correct decisions about their own bodies,” it noted.

However, ANUG  urges  Guyanese  to  get  vaccinated  on  the  base  of  reducing  likelihood  of hospitalisation  and  death  and  reducing  symptoms  when  contracting  the  virus.  It also urges the Government to fulfil its mandate to inform the public and to safeguard our civic rights.

ANUG is one of the political parties represented by Opposition Member of Parliament Lenox Shuman in the National Assembly having combined its list with Shuman’s Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) to contest the 2020 elections.