Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi’s Media Conference on Vaccination In The Public Sector – Thursday December 23rd 2021

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi indicated that the Government is not in a position to withdraw its policy related to Vaccination In The Public Sector. He said the Government’s “sole and primary policy is to save lives.”

The AG made the statement following meetings with members of the Trade Union Movement and representatives of the Protective Services (Police, Prison, Fire) yesterday.

The Attorney General stated that he received “useful submissions” from representatives of the Protective Services including discussions on liability, medical insurance, priority for COVID-19 treatment and testing, admissions and bed care treatment for COVID-19 Positive workers. However, the trade unions, through JTUM Leader Ancel Roget, did not bring forward any recommendations. Instead, they expressed “a very clear position” that they did not support the Government’s policy on vaccinations in the Public Service. Mr. Roget also called for the immediate withdrawal of the vaccination policy and for Government to provide empirical evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations will stop someone from contracting COVID-19, or becoming infected and spreading the virus.

As a result of discussions held with the unions and claims made by Mr. Roget at yesterday’s meeting, the Attorney General said he requested the Health Minister give access to the Ministry’s data to Mr. Roget. The AG also publicly called on Mr. Roget to produce his own data which he claims is in conflict with Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 data.

AG Al-Rawi said Mr. Roget “stoutly refused” to discuss matters relating to furlough for public sector workers who decline vaccination.

The Attorney General noted that Mr. Roget stated that the unions are not opposed to vaccination, and Mr. Roget himself admitted to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. On this, the AG said, “I simply do not understand how you can decide to take a vaccine but not be in support of others taking the vaccine.”

AG Al-Rawi stated that the Government’s Policy is not a mandatory vaccination policy because workers in the Public Service have a choice in taking, or not taking, the vaccine. He added, “There is a consequence on the work-side, but nobody can lean you up against the wall, tie you up, and insert a vaccine in your arm. That is not what the Government is proposing.”

The Attorney General called for a return to common sense, for trade union leaders to put aside the politics, and for their understanding that the normal Collective Bargaining/industrial disputes does not apply in the pandemic.

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