Antigua & Barbuda: Prime Minister Gaston Browne, on Saturday, during his weekly appearance on a radio programme on 99.1 Pointe FM, has called on his political opponents to observe a ceasefire and join his government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am going to commit myself from today that I will aspire to have nothing negative to s ay about my political opponents. I am asking Opposition Leader Harold Lovell and his entire team to join us in a political ceasefire. It is critical at this time. The focus should be on getting our people vaccinated to protect lives and our livelihoods. I am making an earnest call for a political ceasefire between the opposition forces and government for us to understand that the priority at this time is to protect lives and livelihoods by getting our people inoculated to achieve herd immunity,” PM Browne told his radio and social media audience.
The country’s leader was at the time responding to a caller who commented on the government’s position that there would be no lock-down of the country to fight the rise in COVID-19 cases.
PM Browne said that unless the COVID-19 situation gets to a point whereby the health system becomes overwhelmed, the country will not go into a lockdown. He said that what is needed is for persons to come together and observe the protocols and encourage each other to get inoculated. The recent figures indicate that there are 370 active COVID-19 cases in Antigua and Barbuda, with 40 persons hospitalized.
“There is no other way out, and all of us is vulnerable as each of us. We must understand that there are consequences that go beyond our individual decisions, and we have to make decisions in the interest of ourselves and our loved ones and the entire nation as a whole,” PM Browne stated.
On February 16, the Political Leader of the United Progressive Party, Harold Lovell, mounted a social media campaign outlining his support for the COVID-19 vaccination, stating that he will take the vaccine.
“I will take the AstraZeneca vaccine or whichever vaccine is approved by our medical and public health professionals. It is essential to get vaccinated. It will protect my life, the lives of my family & friends, and most of all, the lives of the people of my wonderful country,” Harold Lovell posted on his Facebook page.
The government earlier this week commenced its vaccination programme, inoculating front-line workers to include nurses, doctors, EMT officers, Members of the Cabinet and Parliament, and other healthcare workers. It will continue the vaccination drive in the coming weeks, also taking the vaccination programme to the sister island of Barbuda.
“I make this open call for a political ceasefire at this time, recognizing that the country needs us all. Each of us must take responsibility to fight this existential threat in our country. All of us must participate in the public education campaign and to convince everyone around us to proceed to adhere to the health protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to get vaccinated to achieve the much-needed herd immunity so that we can return to normalcy as soon as possible,” PM Browne stated.