President General of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union Ancel Roget speaks at a press conference at Paramount Building, in San Fernando yesterday.

Leader of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) Ancel Roget yesterday said that he has encouraged the members of the amalgamated unions to get vaccinated.

Roget is also the leader of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) and said that he believes in the freedom to choose whether or not to be vaccinated.

“It is a personal choice,” he said in a brief telephone interview yesterday.

The union leader said that he was already vaccinated and supported anyone who wanted to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I wouldn’t take the vaccine and then encourage people to take it,” he said.

Roget said he supported people’s right to refuse to be vaccinated.

“As I said on Labour Day, it is your decision and I support your choice either way. What we are against is the idea of a mandatory vaccine,” he said.

Roget’s neutral stance is at odds with that of the leader of the Public Service Association (PSA) leader Watson Duke who reportedly discouraged his members from taking the vaccine.

Duke claimed to be an advocate of vaccines but not the COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organisation has repeatedly said along with global health officials, that COVID vaccines are safe for use and vaccinations will help to stop the pandemic.

But Roget’s response yesterday was based on the public conversation that Government may be forced to bring legislation to make vaccines mandatory.

While Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley did say that he would make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory if he had to, but he did explain days later that such a plan was not being considered by Cabinet at this time. He added that vaccination programme against the virus remains voluntary.

Since then there has been no further discourse on whether or not mandatory vaccinations will be part of the next plan to deal with the COVID-19.