GTU now stands exposed as the PNC’s political scapegoat

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Teachers’ Union now stands exposed as a political scapegoat of the PNC, given its recent pronouncement, “Teachers, we will stand with you should there be any attempt to make vaccination mandatory for returning to the classroom”.
This should be contrasted with the President’s statement, in which he urged teachers to show leadership and get vaccinated. He explained the dangers of the GTU’s stance, when he summed up that “because vaccines inoculate everyone against this dreaded deadly virus, all of us should be troubled by those who refuse to be vaccinated. The unvaccinated are now as deadly as the virus itself, for they are not only susceptible to infection, they will carry it…the Government has a responsibility to defend the health of all”.
We are our brothers’ keepers, and it is our duty to encourage them to get vaccinated, the GTU’s statement defies the commitment it has made to ‘embark on a sensitisation campaign to better inform teachers of the facts surrounding vaccination and the importance and benefits of being vaccinated.’ It runs contradictory, and implies that ‘it’s okay not to be vaccinated, and the Government cannot force you to’.
This type of defiance sends the wrong message to teachers. Teachers are required to set good examples, and are role models for our children. When they do not become vaccinated, many of our children will want to do that, and the ‘unvaccinated’ will indeed be “as deadly as the virus”, and will be carriers. When our very education system, which is supposed to be in the forefront of the effort to encourage the vaccination drive, is playing politics with our children’s future, then indeed “the Government has a responsibility to defend the health of all”.
Indeed, the time has come for vaccination to become mandatory. The decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate should no longer be an individual’s decision. To allow any individual that choice is tantamount to not only being ‘tyrannical’, but dictatorial on the part of the GTU. The Government must act to protect everyone, and making it mandatory should now be the way forward.
World leaders are now beginning to realise that COVID-19 vaccination must be made mandatory. The UK Government has passed a new legislation which will be effective from November 11th; it requires people working in care homes to be vaccinated, to protect them from the risk of death and serious illness that can arise from contracting COVID-19. France has agreed to legislate similarly. Whilst the GTU has said, “Our teachers are no different, since some of our members have reservations due to personal illnesses and/or fear,” it needs to understand that the fear of far worse personal illnesses to our people are a lot more real than imaginary.
An article published by McKinsey and Company submitted that, “despite pockets of concerns, consumer confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is increasing as more real-life experiences accumulate on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines” (
Teachers must use the research tool to gather and sift information, so as to make informed decisions. They must not be misled. I am very disappointed that my erstwhile colleagues would fall for such cheap political garbage.
The Government, as an employer, has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of its employees, and any visitors to their premises, such as customers, suppliers and the general public. Should this not apply to the teachers and the school environment? What about the responsibilities of the teachers as employees? It is your responsibility to ensure not only your well-being, but that of your colleagues and those under your charge, your students.
As our cases of infection and death from COVID-19 climb rapidly, and as we are now threatened by the Delta variant, imagine how ridiculous it is that it is mandatory to be fully vaccinated to enter a night club or a sports stadium, but not so to enter a classroom.

Yours sincerely,
Haseef Yusuf