Estate Police get complaints about covid19 vaccine policy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the Sinopharm vaccine. –

The Estate Police Association of Trinidad and Tobago (EPA) says it has received complaints and queries from its members about employers asking them to show proof of covid19 vaccination.

A statement from the association on Monday said this new requirement came in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that all unvaccinated government workers will not be allowed to work in state offices, which are deemed safe zones.

Government workers who are not vaccinated by mid-January will be furloughed (sent home without pay).

The association says there is no law in the country which addresses furlough.

“Our view is that such a statement is introducing a compulsion to be vaccinated in order for that said person to retain their employment. This can be construed as exerting duress upon the employee by the employer,” the statement said. “The association encourages officers to get vaccinated. However, we will defend the right of any individual who chooses not to vaccinate.”

The statement was signed by EPA president Deryck Richardson and general secretary Robert Ottley.

The association told its members their personal information is protected by the Data Protection Act.

It said, “A person is not compelled to produce any medical record to any person or organisation as a requirement. It is stated in section 45 of the act that disclosure of such information must be freely given by the individual or by court order.”

Section 30 of the act provides that personal information shall not be collected unless (a) the collection is expressly authorised by any written law, (b) The information is collected for the purpose of law enforcement, or (c) that information relates directly for an operating programme or activity of the public body.

The EPA said members asked to provide vaccination information should ask their employer to show written law that requires such information.

“If the employer quotes any law, it must be provided to you in writing, and you have the right to seek advice on what is presented to you,” the statement said. “If you are willing to provide documentation, that is also your right.”

The EPA has also been told managers at “certain organisations” have intimidated workers. It called on its members to record any manager/supervisor who makes such advances and report it to their EPA representatives or the executive.

The association said it took note that the PM and Attorney General Faris Al- Rawi has said the Government intended to amend the Public Health Ordinance.