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Police welfare chief loses job over vaccine mandate


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Police welfare chief loses job over vaccine mandate
Head of the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Police Welfare Association, Station Sergeant Brenton Smith - GP

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KINGSTOWN – Head of the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Police Welfare Association, Station Sergeant Brenton Smith lost his job because of his refusal to comply with the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

He has, however, served notice that he will challenge the decision.

Police officers are among a wide cross-section of public sector workers deemed frontline employees and have been mandated to get vaccinated to continue in their jobs.

Smith, who has been a police officer for 27 years, did not comply, and he was informed that he was deemed to have resigned from his job as a police officer.

He told CMC that he does not consider himself as having resigned.

“I have been fired,” Smith said.

The letter informing him of the decision was hand-delivered by a sergeant of police.

“I have to inform you that the Police Service Commission has noted that you, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with Rule 5 of the Public Health (Public Bodies Special Measures) Rules 2021,” stated the December 8 correspondence.

The letter was signed by the Chief Personnel Officer, Arlene Regisford-Sam and copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, the Commissioner of Police, the Director General – Finance, the Accountant General, the Director of Audit, and the Comptroller of the Inland Revenue Department.

As a result of Smith’s failure to comply with the rule, the letter stated, he had been absent from duty without leave since November 22.

“Accordingly, on behalf of the Police Service Commission, I have to inform you that you are deemed to have resigned your office with effect from December 7th, 2021, and have ceased to be an officer, in accordance with Section 73A of the Police Act, Chapter 391 of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” the letter stated.

“On behalf of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, I would like to thank you for the service you have rendered during your period of employment, and also to wish you success in the future.”

Smith said he was not surprised to get the letter, as lower-ranked officers received similar letters from Commissioner of Police Colin John on Tuesday.

He said he has seven days in which to appeal, and he intends to do so.

(CMC)

 

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