By Carlena Knight
A call has been made by a top official from the St John’s Taxi Association to Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board (ABTB) management to backtrack on the body’s new vaccination policy.
Taxi and bus drivers, as well as others applying for or renewing public service vehicle permits, were notified via a memo issued on Monday that they will no longer be able to access services at the Transport Board without proof that they are fully vaccinated.
The memo, signed by General Manager Hubert Jarvis, said the new policy was in keeping with a recent Cabinet decision as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But President of the St John’s Taxi Association Patrick Burnette says members will not accept it.
“It’s a situation where we had to let the Transport Board know that we don’t and cannot accept anything that’s going to hinder us during this process.
“It is a situation where we feel that the public service permit has nothing to do with vaccination and therefore, we will not accept that.
“It’s not something that we feel is fair; that should be taken into account. We, with respect, are just saying that they should review that policy,” Burnette said.
He claimed the policy was discriminatory.
“Basically, a policy like this is a bit discriminatory in some aspects. We don’t feel that it is fair that our livelihoods are being threatened like that. I can’t say that everyone is vaccinated or not but they should have something in place that deals with that,” Burnette declared.
That was his stance following yesterday’s meeting between the two parties.
Calls to Jarvis for comment were unsuccessful up to news time.
Bus and taxi drivers are the latest to be subject to a vaccination policy.
Last Thursday, government announced that gym owners would have to ensure only fully vaccinated people enter. Bar and nightclub operators are beholden to the same stipulation.
Meanwhile, frontline government workers are also required to get vaccinated or test twice monthly for Covid-19 free of charge.