Trinidad and Tobago: The High Commission of India in Trinidad and Tobago made a clear statement on the controversy of the role of High Commissioner (Arun Sahu) in vaccine procurement for T&T.
In an official statement High Commissioner stated that on 15th February 2021, both the Health Minister Hon’ble Senator Terrence Deyalsingh and Foreign Minister Hon’ble Senator Dr Amery Browne came to met High Commissioner separately to explore the possibility of getting AstraZeneca vaccines from India.
The High Commissioner of India gave two way for procurement of vaccines to Rowley’s Ministers.
High Commission statement said, “1) T&T government can request the Government of India (GOI) for a donation of vaccine, for which a request at the highest level to PM Modi might be considered. “
It added, “2)T&T can directly explore a commercial purchase of the vaccine from the Serum Institue of India (SII). Since it is a commercial deal, GOI will have a minimal role, only facilitating export approval. The relevant T&T authority could enter into commercial agreement with SII. A copy of deal could be shared with the High Commission so that we could help get expeditious export approval. High Commissioner also made it clear that it will not be easy since there is tremendous global demand.“
“On 16th February 2021, the High Commission received Foreign Minister Dr Browne’s letter to his counterpart EAM Dr S Jaishankar requesting assistance in access for purchase and receipt of 250,000 doses of vaccine from SII. ” H.C of India added.
The Indian High-Commission’s statement further added that the Foreign Ministry of T&T informed the consulate that the Serum Institute of India was not taking any vaccine orders at that time.
Also, Foreign Minister urged H.C of India for assistance in getting some vaccine donation.
In reply to that High Commissioner suggested that, “even though it is very late”, T&T may like to make a request for a donation at a suitable level.
The statement further noted that T&T FM conveyed to H.C of India that the historical, cultural & friendly relations with the people and government of T&T.
“But subject to domestic demand and other international commitments, we will go an extra mile to make an effort to get some vaccines & letter would be sent .” H.C of India added.
High Commission also stated that from requests of various heads of government, India is supplying vaccines to different country in globe.
“Government of India started the supply on 20th January 2021. To date, India has supplied COVID vaccines. To date, India has supplied COVID vaccines to 72 nations across geographics,” it added.
Notably, India supplied more than 300k doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to many Caribbean countries.
Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit called it a result of good bilateral arrangements.
High Commission of India remembered medical supplies of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to T&T, Grenada and Commonwealth of Dominica amid pandemic.
“Keeping in view the long-standing historical, cultural, and people-to-people contacts between India and Trinidad and Tobago, efforts are being made to supply some vaccines to T&T. However, no time frame could be indicated at this stage. ” High Commission of India noted.