Our rights against what is right
As a child, I had various vaccinations for polio, tuberculosis and Lord knows what else. This was all topped up when I joined the army.
When I got my driving licence, I was with the British Army serving in Germany. Although being British, we were obliged to drive on the right side of the road, and then on returning to Britain I was obliged to drive on the left side of the road. I had to have a driving licence to drive a vehicle. As the saying goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
In the 1960s, one could drive a car without seatbelts and ride a moped without a helmet. Laws were passed that not only did your car have to have seatbelts, you were mandated to wear the seatbelt. The general idea was to reduce health costs and save lives by changing one’s rights to decide whatever that person decided was right for them. Good Lord, we lost our rights!
Before “9/11”, flying was an experience to be enjoyed, but since that event, we have to go through security, remove your shoes, belts, etc, scans of our luggage. If you decide you do not want to go through these procedures, guess what, you cannot get on the plane. Is this a reduction in our freedom of movement to do what we want to do?
Growing up, I was able to smoke wherever I went, no restrictions, and then we learnt of the problems caused by smoking and second-hand smoke. I have not smoked for some 50 years and if anyone visits my house and they wish to smoke, it has to be outside. Now you cannot smoke on an aircraft, in a restaurant, any government buildings or buses, so we have lost our rights to do what we want.
I believe the cruise boat companies are mandating all crew must be vaccinated as well as passengers. I have heard — but not confirmed — the Governor of Florida said cruise passengers do not have to vaccinated, so the cruise companies have said they would sail from other destinations.
It was interesting to hear the Premier’s response to a question of pilots being vaccinated when the Government is mandating passengers and crew of any boat visiting or originating in Bermuda should be vaccinated. One unvaccinated pilot could cause not only a problem for the boat and its passengers, but could potentially stop any cruise operator from coming to Bermuda.
Times, they are a-changing, and it will be my right to ask if the person I am dealing with in any business establishment is vaccinated. If not, it will be my decision to take my business elsewhere.
There are reasons for implementing regulations that are considered for the common good. It will not be government regulations but those of the airline companies and cruise operators who wish to keep their staff safe by saying you cannot travel with us if you are not vaccinated. This is not unlike the vaccinations for travel to various countries, and you had the right to deny vaccination, consequently not travelling to those countries.
The cost of litigation challenging the Covid regulations will be borne by the Bermudian taxpayer, which we cannot afford in the present economic climate, and the only beneficiaries will be the lawyers.