Home Letters Appreciative of salary increase, getting vaccinated
While the rules of engagement on the determination of salary increases for 2021 may not have been followed to the script, it is without a doubt that many Public Servants appreciate the receipt of the seven per cent salary increase, retroactive to the beginning of the year.
Naturally, the representative unions were up in arms, demanding to be heard at the negotiation table, not to mention the breach in relevant guidelines regarding the determination of the quantum of increase in salary for Public Servants.
A cogent response was received, identifying a number of issues influencing the final decision. While throwing a big hint that Public Servants need to seriously consider their choice of representatives, either within, or the unions themselves, the truncated rationale was that Public Servants were encouraged to reflect on the vested interests of their union representatives, trenchant biases which did not serve Public Servants well whenever the current Opposition happened to be in Government.
This is not to say that matters represented by the unions are insubstantial; they are not. However, Public Servants can, with their hard experience, attest to the truth behind the proffered observations. Few Public Servants can dispute their lack of confidence in their union representatives, not to mention the highly questionable internal political machinery of at least one union, which has seen a union president in office way past that person’s ability to further develop, much less oversee the development of, the union itself.
Without much of a second thought, many Public Servants would concede that their union leaders, their unions, have failed them for far too long. They should seriously consider mechanisms to stop the deduction of union dues from their salaries if they are so disposed, in addition to seriously canvassing within their ranks for leaders for another union.
COVID-19 has exacted tremendous costs the world over, with Guyana not being spared the brunt of its effects. It has been severe on small businesses, their employees, vendors, and other individuals not in stable jobs. An accompanying tragedy has been the explosion of social media, which has been the source of much misinformation on COVID-19 spread by persons and organisations with diverse agendas. Guyanese should by now recognise that the longer COVID-19 remains a social problem, the longer it will take for the general population to return to normalcy, and start spending as it normally would. This is not to mention children returning to normal school life. Omicron, the most recent variant, appears to spread more rapidly, though its effects appear significantly muted, compared with the experience of Delta, etc.
There is no question that more than a few concerns surround these vaccines (immunity, for example, and generally accepted times for adequate testing). However, the world is not being given the option to wait another twelve or however many years it takes to fully test and approve vaccines for COVID-19. In this regard, the frontiers of medicine, research and technology have, and are being, fully exploited to produce and improve vaccines in accordance with stringent guidelines of host economies, to mitigate as much as possible any negative effects of at least those vaccines available from Western countries. The results of the ability of these vaccines to mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19 have been well documented in the public domain.
Guyanese are therefore encouraged to learn as much as possible from official sources, and make an informed decision on opting to become vaccinated. An unvaccinated person becomes an unwitting host to COVID-19. More vaccinated persons reduce the rate of severity of ill-health from being exposed to COVID-19, as well as the mortality associated with COVID-19. Most importantly, however, is that becoming vaccinated increases the stability of the population, and nudges the country as a whole back to normalcy, where consumers feel more encouraged and freer to spend and get money circulating back in the economy again.
Unvaccinated Guyanese are therefore strongly urged to consider their personal well-being, that of their at-risk family members and friends, of the economy, the population as a whole, and more actively explore becoming vaccinated.
Unvaccinated persons are strongly encouraged to continue to wear masks to protect themselves and those vulnerable at home.
Consideration could be extended to retaining commercial air travel to benefit as much as possible from visiting Guyanese, etc., subject to incoming passengers being required to produce proof of vaccination. Some consideration could also be extended to relaxing the mask mandate for vaccinated persons within defined groups, while a relaxation of the curfew would significantly go hand-in-hand with greater vaccine drives, such as creating vaccine sites in densely trafficked public areas, such as Stabroek Market, aimed at making vaccines more accessible to the unvaccinated, inclusive of those too busy to consider taking time off to get vaccinated.