The New Today

Commentary

Do your job, Khief

This article is about the Covid treatment that I will refer to as a vaccine, for the purpose of simplicity. I am constrained to write at this time because the matter is weighing very heavily on my conscience. I have adult children that have called me because they are affected by the stance that has been adopted by several employers, based on the direct public encouragement of our Prime Minister.

I now say to Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell that, if he is not prepared to do the job that he has been hired by the people of Grenada to do, then he should resign forthwith!

The job of the Prime Minister is to protect the people of the country and, whether or not he personally shares a particular opinion, to protect the rights of persons in Grenada to hold opinions and to adopt decisions that are in keeping with local and international law and practice.

Whatever personal convictions that he holds, the Prime Minister must be careful about the pronouncement of those convictions, since such statements are likely to have a significant effect on the treatment of others who do not share his conviction. This is not a country that is subject to the whims and fancies of any individual or group, but one that must be subject to the rule of law.

Our government must adopt a stance that is in keeping with the standards of international law and our very own constitution. This is an obligation and an oath that is demanded of any person who seeks to hold the highly esteemed office of Prime Minister. Keith Mitchell made that oath several times when being sworn in as Prime Minister, maybe very glibly and ignorantly, but has certainly done so.

I am aware that several persons have labelled me as an anti-vaxxer and I believe that I should clarify my stance. I have written and said publicly that I am not prepared at this time to accept any of the Covid vaccines that are available and I have openly shared my reasons for my personal stance.

I am not an anti-vaxxer because I believe in vaccinations, and I have consciously taken them, however I am not personally convinced regarding the technology that is being used in these vaccines. No one is able to show me that the vaccines have been subjected to the traditional number and extent of trials that are needed to verify the safe use of the vaccines.

It is my considered view that each individual ought to be free to make his or her own personal decision about whether or not, for the sake of their own personal health and that of their family, they want to accept a certain medical treatment. This concept is embodied in the provision in section 9 of our constitution that refers to our right to freedom of conscience.

  1. Protection of freedom of conscience
    (1)  Except with his or her own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of conscience, including freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his or her religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his or her religion or belief in worship, teaching, practise and observance.

And, it is the role of our government, whether by passing laws in Parliament or otherwise, to ensure that the basic fundamental rights of each person are protected. Our Prime Minister cannot properly give a go ahead to businesses to take decisions that will potentially violate any person’s fundamental human rights.

This is a desertion, a betrayal, a cowardly and sneaky undercut of the people of Grenada. In fact, whether or not for the purported public interest, I am of the view that there is no proper support in law for that stance by the Prime Minister for the use of this Covid vaccines for the reasons that I am about to explain.

What are these Covid vaccines
In spite of my call many weeks ago for our government to educate our people about the vaccines and allow them to make their own individual choices, our Prime Minister has embarked on a campaign of coercion, bullying, bribery and entertainment as the way to convince people to take the vaccines shots.

Paying soca artistes to sing and pose to support the vaccine cannot be the proper way! Entering the vaccine takers into a lottery to win free money is not the way! We must create a nation of people whose choices are based on conscience and the rule of law!

I am waiting eagerly for any person to show me that any of the vaccines have received full clearance or authorisation from any competent medical authority in any country in the world. It is my understanding that the vaccines have only received Emergency Use Authorisation so far and the manufacturers continue to work arduously and frantically to accelerate further tests in order to get full authorisation for their product.

In fact, the Covid virus has not even been properly studied as yet and China has refused to cooperate in international efforts to trace the origin of the virus. Understanding its origin will certainly assist scientists in producing a response to the virus that is safer and more effective. The unsettling fact is that the mutations of the virus has caused us to experience variant after variant of the virus all over the world.

I am simply stating as a fact therefore, that the vaccines in their present states are all experimental drugs that are being peddled and offered to the people of the world and our people in Grenada. This is no conspiracy theory. This is a fact that cannot be successfully opposed or controverted!

Am I saying that a person cannot choose to have an experimental drug administered to him? Certainly, anyone is free to do so because that is a personal choice. What I am saying, however, is that each person has a right to reject any experimental drug or process without fear of loss or reprisal to their interests or person.

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This a person’s right. Keith Mitchell knows or ought to know that. If he says that he does not know that then he needs to resign forthwith because he is disqualified from holding the office of Prime Minister that he now holds.

Grenada’s agreement
In 1991, while Keith Mitchell was the Leader of the Opposition in Grenada, he was party to Grenada’s accession (agreement) to the International Covenant (agreement) on Civil and Political Rights. This document was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and entered into force on March 23 1976, in accordance with Article 49.

In other words, this international covenant or agreement trumps even our constitution, and our constitution must be interpreted in light of the provisions of this international covenant.

Preamble

The States Parties to the present Covenant, 

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, 

Recognising that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person, 

Recognising that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights, 

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms, 

Realising that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant, 

Agree upon the following articles:

Article 4 

  1.  In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
  2. NO DEROGATION FROM ARTICLES 6, 7, 8 (PARAGRAPHS I AND 2), 11, 15, 16 AND 18 MAY BE MADE UNDER THIS PROVISION.
  3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

Article 7
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED WITHOUT HIS FREE CONSENT TO MEDICAL OR SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTATION.

Article 18

  1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
  2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
  3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
  4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

My Grenadian people, the summary of all this is as follows:

  1. The present Covid vaccines are properly to be called MEDICAL OR SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTATION and they may be properly called experimental medicine or drugs.
  2. Our government has signed unto an international agreement in which they agreed never to force anyone to take experimental medicine or drugs.
  3. Our government agreed to protect the rights of each citizen not to be forced to take any experimental medicine or drugs.
  4. Even in the case where the government wants to avoid its commitment to its people it must inform the United Nations through an established process.
  5. Even in a case of Public Emergency, a government will not be allowed to avoid its commitment to protect the rights of its citizens not to be forced or coerced to take experimental medicine or drugs.
  6. Our government is therefore supposed to pass a law preventing business places from requiring its workers to take the Covid vaccine.

Khief, Keith Claudius Mitchell, you want the job of Prime Minister, you love the job of Prime Minister and the fame and fortune that it has brought to you. Well, it is time, in this crisis, to get up and be a true leader and DO YOUR JOB!

Cajeton Hood is an attorney-at-law who served as Attorney General during the 2013-18 period in government of the New National Party of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell