Jamaican Bar Association President Urges Government to Clarify Stance on COVID Vaccine Mandates

Comments made by a Jamaican Ministry of Labour and Social Security official have sparked debate on the issue of employer vaccine mandates amongst members of Jamaica’s legal community. In an interview with the Jamaican Observer, Gillian Corrodus, the Ministry’s divisional director of industrial relations, seemed to hint that employer vaccine mandates would violate International Labor Organization Convention 111, which addresses discrimination.

Jamaican Bar Association President Alexander Williams expressed concern about Corrodus’s stance, noting that “The question is not simply whether there are laws that support mandatory vaccination but whether there is a law that prohibits it.” Williams went on to state that, “[t]here is also no law or ruling that says that dismissing a worker for being unvaccinated constitutes discrimination.” Williams also called for Jamaica’s Attorney General to issue a legal opinion on employer vaccine mandates.
For his part, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness appeared to cast doubt on the constitutionality of a national vaccine mandate during a virtual press conference in August, stating that, “As it stands now…the Government is not thinking about, nor inclined to mandate any vaccines. In fact, we don’t believe that is something that would meet the constitutional test”

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