By Staff Writer

Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader and former Public Securities Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan is suggesting that the government issues another round of COVID-19 relief, but this time, only to those who have taken vaccines.

“We’re saying that if there can be a second round of COVID relief, and if you got vaccination hesitation right now, pay monies to those areas – the $25,000 that you will give again – you have to take the jab before you get the next $25,000,” he said during a press conference today.

The former Minister stressed the importance of the “whole country being vaccinated” before the pandemic becomes unmanageable.

He said that the monies for the second round of relief can be accessed through the mechanisms in the Natural Resources Fund Act.

“[We have] approximately US$300M in the Federal Reserve Bank – we are not short of money. And when we passed the Natural Resources Fund Act, we created a bureaucracy that is going to make minimal, the politicians of the day spending and withdrawing that money,” he said.

Ramjattan also noted that several committees that are provided for in the act, will have to be constituted before the funds can withdrawn. He added that the monies can be accessed in cases of emergency, and the pandemic fits that criteria.

Vaccination is being touted as the only means of exiting the COVID-19 pandemic, but with conspiracy theories and alleged vaccine-related deaths, it is a herculean task for some governments to convince their citizens to get inoculated.

The Government of Guyana (GoG) is no different. In fact, its President, Dr Irfaan Ali, a few days ago said that Guyana may soon have to consider the implementation of Vaccination Passports, while stressing that the collective health of Guyanese must not be jeopardised by a few persons who are not in favour of being vaccinated.

He emphasized that vaccination is the only way for the country to return to some level of normalcy, and to curb COVID-19 related deaths within the country. Some 296 persons have already succumbed to the virus, with over 60 deaths already recorded for April.

The Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, one day after the President’s comments, spoke about resistance from some quarters, while stressing that the reopening of schools is dependent on a high percentage of vaccine uptake. She said that if parents, teachers and guardians are serious about the education of the nation’s children, they should seriously consider taking the vaccines. She announced that schools will remain closed for the month of May.


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