Tobago Chamber on vaccine rate: We can’t fiddle while Rome burns

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

The Tobago Business Chamber says it will support the Government if it wishes to implement mandatory covid19 vaccinations in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a WhatsApp voice note on Friday, the chamber’s chairman Martin George alluded to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Thursday night in which Dr Rowley spoke about the country’s dire situation with respect to the high rate of new covid19 infection and increasing deaths from the virus.

With a significant percentage of the population still unvaccinated, Rowley said if the high infection rate persists the country’s health care system could collapse.

George said, “The Tobago Business Chamber notes from the Prime Minister’s address that it appears that Trinidad and Tobago is still at a low vaccination rate. We need to increase our vaccination rate and we need to do so quickly.”

He said if people are not doing so voluntarily “then we will certainly support the Government if its needs to take stronger or sterner measures to try to encourage persons to be vaccinated.

“If that means that the Government eventually has to take the decisive step to say that it is implementing mandatory vaccinations possibly from January 1, 2022, the Tobago Business Chamber lends its support to any such initiative because we cannot continue to be fiddling like Nero while Rome is burning. We cannot continue to be tethering and not making any serious progress in terms of the recovery of our economy and our normal way of life.”

George said the country cannot appear to be flip flopping on these issues.

“We need firm, decisive leadership and action and if the Government is prepared to take it, we are prepared to support the Government.”

Rowley has said repeatedly the Government is not considering mandatory vaccinations at this time. But he said the Government may be forced to revisit its position if deadlier strains of covid19 emerge.