Sep 15, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – In light of the statements that persons have been making contending that the government is infringing on their individual rights, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, last week during his weekly programme titled ‘Issues in the news” explained that public health and public good prevails over individual rights.
In fact, the AG stated, “In relation to COVID-19 public health measures which are being taken under the public health ordinance or legislation are valid. The fundamental rights of an individual must bend and bow to the importance of public health and the public good.”
The Minister explained, “Individual rights and freedom are not absolute, but must be curtailed, so that the public good and the rights and freedom of others are respected.” He further noted that the public health of the citizens of a society are of paramount importance and must prevail over individual rights.
According to the Minister, every individual has the freedom to move as is wished, but noted that if that individual wishes to enter a particular building, they must observe the rules governing entry of that building. “If the rule says that you must produce a vaccine card and you don’t have the vaccine card, well, too bad,” the AG added.
Moreover, Minister Nandlall further noted that vaccines are not a new measure and that there have been mandatory vaccines in the Caribbean and in the Commonwealth since 1974. He added that, in any event, the rights that people are invoking, including the rights guaranteed by the constitution, are subject to restrictions.
According to the AG, the rights arguments that people have been advancing have been rejected by courts that have adjudicated in those cases, and that the argument does not hold any ground, since the vaccination requirements are also backed by law.
“Someone had challenged the COVID-19 measures in 2020 and the court had rejected the challenge and said that the COVID-19 measures are for the public good and are therefore valid and enforceable,” the Minister said.
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