Dear Editor,
The Guyana Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITUG) is very concerned about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in our country over the past few days.
Statistics emanating from the Ministry of Health have informed that as many as fourteen (14) people have lost their battle to the dreaded virus since the beginning of the month, while several scores of Guyanese have been infected in during that period. At this time, the Federation extends its deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of those who have lost their lives, and wishes those who are infected a speedy and healthy recovery.
In recent days, we have come to learn that a possibly new variant of the so-called virus has entered Guyana. The Ministry of Health has warned that this new strain is more infectious and appears to be affecting younger people. Against this background, the FITUG urges all Guyanese to exercise responsibility and adhere to COVID-19 protocols as we seek to reduce the rapid spread of the virus.
We have seen in the media and elsewhere, over the weekend, the strong presence of the disciplined forces trying to avoid the large public gatherings that are usual with Easter. We consider that the actions, which appear to have been effective, should not have been necessary. We believe that as responsible people it is our duty to take sober action to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We hope that, in the coming days and weeks, we can see Guyanese demonstrating greater responsibility in bringing the pandemic under control.
We also recognize that people have been congregating in bars, shops and other places of business. While we recognize that businesses have been severely affected by a pandemic, we also urge such owners to show some urgency and seek to promote practices that allow businesses to take action in mitigating the spread of the virus. It is for the long-term benefit of our nation.
The FITUG is also aware that large gatherings are not limited to businesses, but extend to social and other activities. Those individuals are equally irresponsible, and those who encourage such an audience should be punished appropriately.
The FITUG sets out the Government’s active efforts to bring the pandemic under control. Already, thousands of vaccines have been obtained, and we are aware of the Ministry’s efforts to get more vaccines. We note, too, that many Guyanese have been vaccinated. This is welcome news and shows a responsible attitude.
We have heard the holdings of those who refuse to be vaccinated. Such talk is not helpful in overcoming the pandemic and allowing life to return to normal. The vaccines used in Guyana have been used effectively in several countries. In addition, our health professionals have testified to the safety of the vaccines. We therefore urge all eligible Guyanese to be vaccinated at this time.
The Federation also encourages employers to allow their employees time off vaccination while providing adequate protection in the workplace.
The Federation strongly believes that our collective responsible actions can go a long way in bringing the pandemic under control. So we have to follow the advice of health professionals, observe protocols, and get vaccines. We are reminded that it is our actions that would ultimately prevent the pandemic, and the ambiguity of some is not helpful at this time.

Guyana Federation of Independent Trade Unions

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