By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) has petitioned the country’s health authorities to reconsider their strict vaccination mandate for sports.
President Leon Rodney made the disclosure while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, revealing that a letter was dispatched to all the relevant health and sporting departments on behalf of the association.
“It’s no secret that we have written to them and it’s no secret that whenever we write to them it takes about 9000 years for somebody to respond to your emails. When we write, we write to the CMO [Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas], copy the minister [Daryll Matthew] and Dr [Oritta] Zachariah but as I said some time ago, the modus operandi of the CMO and her staff is that they seem to take long to respond,” he said.
According to current health protocols, all athletes and officials participating in sanctioned competitions must be fully vaccinated to do so. However, unvaccinated government workers and students are allowed to submit two negative tests per month to their relevant institutions.
Rodney believes it is only fair that the same courtesy be extended to athletes.
“If I am working at a government establishment and the rules of the government say that if I am not vaccinated I need to produce two negative tests per month, then why is it that if I am playing for Empire or any club that I must be fully vaccinated to walk out onto the field to play any sport?” the cricket boss asked.
“When you look at it and revisit the whole situation, it doesn’t make sense. It takes us back to when we wanted to do the Under-17 tournament when they said the players had to be vaccinated but they were going to school every day, catch the bus every day, walk up and down town every day, and go back into the community every day without being vaccinated, but you’re telling us they have to be vaccinated to play. So, I am saying that something is absolutely wrong with it,” he said. The cricket association recently hosted its Vax 8 tournament which was open to fully vaccinated players only. The body is set to start its Super 40 competition on February 12, which will follow the country’s hosting of the Super League segment in the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, featuring 12 matches in 11 days from January 26 to the final on February 5 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS).