There appears to be a slight shift in the position of the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada, Bishop Clyde Harvey on the issue of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19.
In delivering the sermon at a Catholic church in Mt. Parnassus, St. George on Sunday, the Bishop said the situation with the virus in India and neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago is such that one cannot afford for it to reach such proportions in Grenada.
“It is no longer an individual thing as to whether I want to be vaccinated or not but what is in the best interest of all the people. As we say in Catholic ethics what is for the common good,” he told the congregation.
‘So we trust ourselves to the Lord but we also have to do what we have to do to ensure our safety. As Catholics we never say God will take care of us by itself – we always say God will take care of us and I will do whatever he asks me to do to take care of myself,” he said.
The Catholic Bishop stopped short of giving support for mandatory vaccination but outlined his philosophical position on the issue.
“I have gotten vaccinated myself. I have encouraged people to get vaccinated but I have always been very strong that nobody can force nobody to get vaccinated because that is a free choice that you have and that you must be allowed to exercise,” he said.
Bishop Harvey spoke out against those employers who use the issue of vaccination to get rid of employees from the workplace.
He said: “It’s always wrong when an employer says to somebody – you know you are working for me but if you don’t get vaccinated I will have to fire you.
“That can’t be right because the right to have a stable income is a fundamental human right and therefore the church must speak out in support of that right and let it be clear that if you have a conscience objection you should make that known,” he added.
According to Bishop Harvey, he is aware of the fact that a few employers are shifting their workers around especially those who do not want to get vaccinated so they will be less of a danger to other people.
‘This virus is such that none of us are ever out of danger – we are all guinea pigs. I have to urge you just as strongly to continue to wear your masks, continue to observe social distancing when you are moving among strangers”.
The clergyman urged persons on the island to refrain from moving around the place if they have no real or justifiable reason to do so.
“Until Covid is passed – we hope it will pass sooner rather than later – we are all in danger,” he said
The Bishop who is a born Trinidadian noted that what is happening back in his homeland is much different from the early days of the pandemic when it was only a few dozen persons who were getting sick from the virus but it is now running into hundreds on a daily basis.
He called for Grenadians to act responsible so that the situation does not turn into that of India and Trinidad & Tobago.
India has now surpassed the United States as the country in the world most affected by the deadly virus which was first discovered in China in November-December 2019.