The government of Antigua and Barbuda, more so Foreign Affairs Minister E.P Chet Greene has commended the government of India for what he said is the continued support to the twin-islandnation.
Greene gave his commendations when he addressed a forum to recognize 75 years of India’s partnership with the United Nations and to brainstorm on a framework to ensure the effective management of the COVID-19 virus beyond 2022.
“As a founding member of this august body designed to achieve international cooperation to solve economic, social, and humanitarian problems, India continues today to demonstrate its support for the principles enshrined in the UN Charter through active support and involvement.
As a country, India has become a great example of an impressive social and economic growth story. It has gained success in agricultural production to nuclear and space technology, from affordable health care to world-class educational institutions, biotechnology, giant steel plants,and Information Technology power.
He said India’s response to Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean region in general following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021 is testimony to the significance of President Modi’s call for “One Earth One Health”.
“A call for global solidarity and alliance building to manage the Pandemic for the future survivalof its citizens. Like a hurricane, the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, claiming lives,and battering economies. The economic fallout from the pandemic has left long-term scars among the most vulnerable segments of our societies. Many have had to contend with the loss of employment prospects and a reduction of living standards,” Greene said
And like most countries, Greene told those who were gathered that “our resilience was tested in ways we could never imagine. While the call for enhanced cooperation may sound like a lofty foreign policy goal or diplomatic rhetoric, the crisis revealed just how much we need cooperation to protect our citizens and countries”.
During the pandemic, he said, “we witnessed the best of generosity and cooperation, namely South-South cooperation. India through its international cooperation initiatives was the first country to provide Antigua and Barbuda with much-needed vaccines.
Additionally, through the UN partner agencies, we also received ventilators and other medical equipment and materials that saved the lives of many Antiguans and Barbudans”.
“The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility provided much-needed access to vaccines that further enhanced my country’s ability to be the first Caribbean country to achieve the WHO target of vaccinating 70 percent of our population,” according to the minister.
Meanwhile, Greene said there is no doubt that the contributions of developing countries and developed states to the UN systems, World Health Organizations, Pan American Health Organization, and regional institutions like CARICOM and the Caribbean Public Health Agency must be commended for helping Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean to be safe spaces for their citizens and visitors.
“The epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection according to the WHO, continues to beunpredictable as the virus evolves. It is therefore critical for the nations of the world to continue their public health efforts to promote the use of vaccines, as the most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The continued implementation of Public Health Social Measures, designed to reduce transmission will be an important approach for the global community to embrace going forward,” he added.
Greene also talked about the need for continued cooperation through the work of the World Health Organization, regional bodies like CARICOM and the respective regional UN Agencies will certainly help to ensure the dissemination of credible, accurate, and reliable preventative measures.
“The continued building of capacity among developing countries to produce and distribute vaccines will certainly strengthen and enhance our effort to effectively manage the pandemic,” he said.