Head of the First Wave Movement Umar Abdullah was arrested in front of the Ministry of Education on Monday as he tried to deliver a pre-action protocol letter on behalf of a group of parents protesting the return to school for vaccinated students only.
Abdullah was taken away by two police officers after an argument with ministry officials.
A group of about 20 parents accompanied himto the ministry on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, to protest what they called the “segregation” of their unvaccinated children from physical school.
Students in forms four to six were allowed to return to the classroom on Monday.
Olive Garcia, a concerned aunt and guardian of her niece Adrianna Dunbar, a form four Malabar Secondary School student, said, “I came to find out from the ministry how my child is going to be taught."
She said Dunbar had no classes on Monday morning and had not received any work for the day. “This is a critical time for her. She is in form four.
"Nothing is put in place for unvaccinated students. We have not received any work.
"What am I to do now? Am I to pay for her to go to school? Who will compensate me for that?”
She said she came to the ministry to find out from the minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, how her child will be taught.
Another parent, Edward Moodie, said it was unfair for children to be segregated from their friends. “This is apartheid now,” he said angrily. “The science has come to a full stop. It is lies and deceit. When is she going to do her school-based assessments (SBAs)? My child is in form five, a science student.
"My child said she is not going to be vaccinated. We as parents have a right to demand that no experimental drug be used on them. Our constitutional rights are being infringed.”
Moodie chastised the police for their treatment of Abdullah.
“Today a man walked into the government building. He was searched. He had a brown envelope in his hand and police officers grabbed him like a dog and took him away. Another man was also taken away.
“When is this oppression going to stop? We have a right to come to any government office and ask: why are our children not being allowed in schools?”
Moodie said he does not support the government making the vaccine mandatory for children under 12.
“Those who are vaccinated, we have no problem with you. That is your choice.
"But we are not going to vaccinate our children to have them be treated like slaves. The vaccine is experimental. The whole world is scared.”
Dr Rajiv Seereeram, a doctor of clinical and public health, was also a part of Monday’s protest.
He said, “Under no circumstance will my children be vaccinated. They are eight and three years old.
"The data for this vaccine’s efficacy is extremely low.
"There is absolutely no paediatric covid19 emergency in children. There is an emergency in adults, and we can understand its use in adults, but there is no justification in children.”
He said the vaccine is not like other mandatory vaccines such as those for measles and mumps.
“It is very leaky, and it does not stop transmission. What is the justification for vaccinating these children?
“Let the data mature for about two to three years. Let us make sure we have very robust safety testing before we take this to the kids.”