The Ministry of Education has confirmed that a few employees were asked to leave the ministry’s 21 Brickdam office on Tuesday, after they could not present their COVID-19 vaccination cards or a negative PCR test result.
As per the Gazetted COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No. 20), which took effect from August 1, 2021, unvaccinated individuals are required to make an appointment before accessing government buildings; this extends to employees.
Alternatively, employees have been asked to produce a negative test result to show that they are not infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
And in accordance with these measures, the Ministry of Education, in a press release stated that it issued clear instructions on August 9, 2021 to all Heads of Department about the adherence to the requirements of the order.
“Prior to the strict application of this specific measure, staff were given two weeks grace period,” the ministry stated in its release, adding that exemptions for specific groups were also communicated.
These exemptions were communicated by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Narine Singh.
The ministry said again on Monday a memorandum was sent out to all heads of department again through the office of the Permanent Secretary informing staff that there will be strict adherence to the Gazetted Order while recognizing the exempted groups of persons.
But on Tuesday, a staff member of the ministry attached to the personnel department was denied entry to the compound because he could not present his vaccination and identification cards nor a negative test result.
The ministry reported that the man persisted that he cannot be denied entry and forced his way into the compound and took up his post at his desk.
Subsequently, it was reported that the employee’s immediate supervisor cautioned him that he was in violation of the Gazetted Order and advised that he should leave the building but he refused to comply.
Thereafter, the Principal Assistant Secretary (Administration) who is in charge of security also cautioned him and advised also that he should vacate the building. Again, it was reported that the employee refused.
The supervisor attached to the security firm contracted to operate at the building also cautioned the staff member to leave the building. And for a third time, the ministry said he refused to leave.
“At this point, the Guyana Police Force was contacted and officers arrived to address the matter. He was cautioned by the officers and eventually decided to leave the building.
“He was not escorted or handcuffed as is being reported,” the ministry said, referencing a news report published in another section of the local media.
In addition to this man, the ministry said that there were other staff who had breached security, violated the Gazetted Order along with the ministry’s instructions and entered the said building.
They too were asked to leave the building in accordance with the Gazetted directive and the ministry said that they “peacefully complied” without being forced or escorted out of the building.
The ministry said that internal data has revealed that a majority of the staff members are vaccinated and in compliance with the Gazetted Order.
And, the ministry stated that it will not allow “one or two deviant non-compliant staff” to tarnish its image by communicating lies about the incident nor would the ministry allow those employees to put at risk any of its staff or members of the public.