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…ordered ranks to take jabs or produce negative Covid results
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has enforced an Order that will take effect from Monday, July 19, 2021 where all ranks and civilians who are unvaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 test every 14 days at their own expense. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
The Order, released on Wednesday, added: “All such personnel currently on vacation leave are also to produce a negative PCR test on resumption of duty and on every 14 days thereafter.”
Only persons officially excused from vaccination by the Force Medical Officer are exempted from the requirement. The GDF has cautioned: “Personnel who fail to comply with this order will be subjected to disciplinary action. Unit commanders, principal staff officers and department heads are to submit a weekly status report on the implementation of this policy to their respective branch heads.”
Presently, COVID-19 vaccination is free in Guyana and is being made available to the public through the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, PCR tests come at a cost at private medical institutions.
Over time, the military has been subtly applying pressure on soldiers to take the vaccines. In June, unvaccinated warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers of the Guyana Defence Force were summoned to a meeting with the Chief-of-staff.
Previously, the GDF had issued and received criticism for a memo stating that its members who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be sanctioned. COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory in Guyana, but the memo then had stated that all members of the GDF who are refusing the vaccines will be interviewed and told of “disincentives that will follow and possible sanctioning by the Force.”
Also in June, the GDF bypassed unvaccinated soldiers for father’s day hampers and threatened that those who do not take the COVID vaccines may have to produce a negative test every two weeks.
The Force has now put its caution into action.
On another note, the Order has also stated that, with immediate effect, the embodiment of all Reserve Ranks are to be processed through Headquarters Guyana People’s Militia before approval and publication by Defence Headquarters.
Headquarters Guyana People’s Militia is therefore required to maintain a register of all embodied Officers and Ranks in the Force.