COMMENTARY: Come now, lady and gentlemen, get off the fence and lead


By: Arvel Grant, Political and Current Affairs Analyst

Politicians’ fence-sitting on mandatory COVID19 vaccine for those not contra-indicated could be responsible for COVID19 illness, death, and economic disaster in their country.


Given the (COVID 19-driven) existential crisis confronting the social and economic future of tourism dependent economies, I would much rather see these four (4) Antiguan and Barbudan political leaders, in a room hammering out a political consensus, on how to achieve herd immunity, in our country.


The COVID19 crisis is the worst national disaster to face Antigua-Barbuda in its history. Without herd immunity, tourism dependent economies will collapse!


If not in the same room virtually or face-to-face, I can (only) put Antigua-Barbuda’s political leaders on the same page, to try and fuel the conversation, across the region. Given their ages, I would be shocked and dismayed if these four (4) political leaders have not (all) benefitted from being vaccinated at least 11 times, as children and (now) against the COVID19 virus.


I would not be surprised if they are parents and grandparents of children, who received the following vaccinations as infants and young children: 1) At 0-6 weeks: BCG – against tuberculosis. 2) At 6 weeks: 1st dose of OPV/ IPV against Polio. 3) At 6 weeks: 1st dose of DPT/ hepatitis B against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and hepatitis B. 4) At 3 months: 2nd dose of OPV/ IPV and second dose of DPT/ Hepatitis B. 5) At 5-6 months: 3rd dose OPV/ IPV against polio. 6) At 5-6 months, 3rd dose of DPT/ hepatitis B. 7) At 12 months: 1st dose of MMR against mumps, measles and rubella.


At 18 months – 1st booster for DPT and 1st Booster for OPV/IPV. 9) At 4-6 years: 2nd booster for DPT and second booster for OPV/ IPV+ 1st booster for MMR. Many people refusing the vaccine today, are alive because they were vaccinated as children.


I firmly agree that it is unwise and inhumane, to physically force any competent adult to be vaccinated against her or his will. However, it is certainly not unconstitutional to require everyone (without medically confirmed contra-indication) to be vaccinated against a viral pandemic, which leaves: sickness, disability, death, and economic disaster in its tracks.


It is certainly not unwise, inhumane, or unconstitutional to deny unvaccinated individuals who are not contra-indicated, access to some privileges and rights, while offering such privileges and rights to the vaccinated. Most importantly, precedent exist to deny children access to school unless they are vaccinated.


Why then allow children of parents who are not vaccinated against COVID19 on to the school plant? Such unvaccinated parents may serve as vectors, shedding vaccine particles on their children, who in turn, take the virus to school, spreading COVID 19 among children of parents who are vaccinated? Surely, is that not unjust and unreasonable? (…/Case_ study_report-school…)


The political establishment in Antigua-Barbuda and across the Caribbean, simply has no choice, but to stand in united support of vaccinations against the marauding and deadly COVID19 virus and its misguided group of anti-vaxxers. Because our societies are so heavily influenced by Party loyalties, national political leaders must form a united front to help our civilization achieve the coveted herd immunity against the COVID19 virus.


Given the stakes, no political leader can afford to find her or himself on the side of “death and diseasehistory”. No political leader can afford to be blamed for aiding the cause of an anti-vaccine campaign, when not to be vaccinated means: sickness, disability, death, loss of employment, and depleting savings to many.


If the nation’s political leadership is united against the virus, it becomes easier to unite: Religion, Trade unions and other parts of civil society, against the common enemy.


Ultimately, unless Antigua-Barbuda (and other tourism dependent economies) achieve herd immunity (that is, around 70% of the population is vaccinated against COVID 19) visitors from source markets, will stop coming and these countries, will see their societies’ economic fortunes wither and shrink to unrecognizable levels.


Hotels, guest houses, transportation providers, restaurant operators, food vendors, tour operators, souvenir vendors and providers of water sport services will be mostly, idled.


With the dryup of cash-flow from the tourism and hospitality sectors, there will be a lot less money to spend on: tithes and offerings; transportation, grocery shops, supermarkets, hardware stores, pharmacies, on doctors, lawyers, and other services.


Many small businesses will have to close while larger businesses will be forced to cut more workers from their payroll.


Imports and Custom duties will decline, revenue into the consolidated funds and the accounts of statutory organizations will shrink. Central Government and statutory bodies will be forced to reduce staff. Pensions and social welfare payments will begin to disappear.


Farmers and fisher folks will find that less consumers will be able to purchase their food, meats, and fish. Construction activities will decline and many will default on loans. I


t is (therefore) in the interest of all political leaders and their organizations, to get out front in encouraging vaccination by all who can tolerate the vaccine; and to shun any appearance of giving cover to anti-vaxxers and others discouraging uptake of the COVID 19 vaccine. I


n those days, the candidates and political Party seen as responsible for the country’s failure to achieve herd immunity, will have difficulty regaining the confidence of the electorate.


Unless Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean, are quickly counted among those countries which have achieved herd immunity against the COVID 19 virus; our tourism source markets will dry-up and life will become quite grim for a lot of people in paradise. Walk good until next time


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  1. Well reasoned Arvel. Covid is not a political football to be kicked around. It affects and will continue to affect all of us regardless of our political persuasion and party colour. I have long been advocating a consensus position given the serious danger that Covid poses to our Economic Development and the overall Health and Wellness of the country. If we are to achieve community immunity, much more is required from our leaders as they help to Educate and persuade the anti vaxxers of the importance of getting the vaccine. We will never reach there if we are not united in this undertaking. Certain things are beyond politics and should be treated as such. It is time we move forward together and unite on this issue.

    • Why do you consider persons hesitancy about the COVID vax as anti-vaxxers? If you eat most meat and don’t eat pork, does that make you a Vegan? People who might just be hesitant about this particular vaccine does NOT make them anti-vaxxer.

      Seychelles is the most vaccinated country in the world reaching over 60% vaccinated and now having a COVID spike. They are the closest to herd immunity and might have already obtained it if you count those who have already contracted the virus. See extract of article from Bloomberg “World’s Most-Vaccinated Nation Activates Curbs as Cases Rise
      Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated more of its population against the coronavirus than any other country, has closed schools and canceled sporting activities for two weeks as infections surge”.

      @ Mr. Grant, why are you concerned about an non-vaccinated parent passing the virus to a child going school and spreading to others? Really, what about a vaccinated taxi driver catching the virus from a vaccinated or non-vaccinated tourist and taking his child to school – can’t he spread it as well?

      @ Mr Grant, you cannot compare those vaccines that have been around and tested for decades to a COVID vaccine that was developed in a year. NONSENSE@!!! Even the method used for those vaccine are different and safe to be given to babies. The immune response of a baby is much different to that of an adult.

      All this pressure for vaccination, the misinformation and flip flop is causing vaccine hesitancy. Just two weeks ago, CDC said it was a bad idea for states to lift the mask restrictions for vaccinated persons and not it is a proven science to be ok, really?

      We are so afraid of a decline in tourism that we were happy that the USA did not make it mandatory for travellers to be vaccinated so that we can still get the non-vaccinated coming to our shores. Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated will be side-by-side on a plane for several hours and will stay in a hotel. Do you then see a requirement for our people to be force into vaccination.

      We will get herd immunity without the need for force. Herd immunity is achieved by persons recovering from the VIRUS!

    • If you FORCE an EXPERIMENTAL jab on the people you will be placing your own neck into the noose under the international rules of the Nuremberg Code

  2. “Visitors from source markets, will stop coming and these countries, will see their societies’ economic fortunes wither and shrink to unrecognizable levels.” A bit of foreshadowing there if I do say my good fellow.

    I read somewhere, a Forbes article, that environmental scientists predicted by 2050 we will be all the way up that proverbial fecal creek without a paddle should sea levels continue to rise. See you twenty-nine years from now, I’ll bring the Chardonnay.

    • Don’t you find it odd the the rich elites continue to buy up the beach front properties?
      These are the same one’s who are warning everyone that they’ll be underwater soon.

    • Welcome John French II. Long time no communications from you. Hope all is well with you,man.I have not seen any posts from our good friend Skyewill. Hope he is also doing well.

  3. Find the above article to be very refreshing to this medium. Hopefully the advise/suggestion is taken seriously Public Display of Cooperation by the Political Leaders. Lots of domino effect if the country doesn’t get to immunity herding. Reminding folks, the politicians are not the ones who will feel the brunt of this saga in terms of financial resources as most if not all are set for life with finances.

  4. Getting all the four political leaders together in room to arrive at a political consensus should have been an initiative taken by Gaston Browne. That would have been a mark of good leadership and statesmanship. His active pushing of the false narrative that the UPP opposed the vaccination process (which was also taken up by his sycophants) did not help the situation. In fact, even after the political leader of the UPP Harold Lovell took the vaccine in public and also put out a public service announcement to encourage the population to take the vaccine, Gaston Browne continued to peddle his false narrative. It does not appear as if Arvel Grant was aware of that fact. Any blame now in the lack of consensus coming from the four political leaders must be placed squarely at the feet of the Prime Minister. This is also a case in point where leadership matters.

    • Tabor can you for once be honest to and with yourself. I mean do you have to blatantly lie so much. I mean the PM has called from day one of this Pandemic that we do not treat this thing as a political football. He has called for a truce. He has reach out to Pringle in parliament to work together with the government. In the early days Pringle’s excuse was that the PM was insulting to him. The PM made a public apology to the UPP and to Pringle in particular but he urged that we come together and work as one on fighting this pandemic. But the UPP didn’t see it wise to do so. As Harold said in a radio program the opposition is not there to work with the government to oppose it. Look howmany time we went to parliament to seek extention of the SOE. And not once could the oppositions work with the government to vote for it. When all over the world and especially right here in the Caribbean every government did the very same thing. Look at Trinidad. Still under lockdown. The PM called for the formation of a Economic Recovery Commission and again stretched out his hand to Pringle and again Pringle refuse the hand and decided to stay out. But when the Committee was ready to make their presentation luckily enough he was there. And that was applauded by all. As this is what a good and responsible opposition should do. Be part of the solution. But the UPP rather stayed out wishing and hoping things would go so bad that they could blame the government and wouldn’t have been co-responsible for it. The UPP has never taken up the responsibility as responsible opposition and come together with the PM in a press conference to urge their supporters to drop the politics and get together in the interest of the Nation. Each endeavoring ALL Achieving. UPP therefore stands clearly as an acronym for Unhappy People’s Party. You guys are consumed by hatred. Hatred for all the name Labour Party stands for and therefore all its members. No wonder when you guys took power in 2004 you lost it so quickly. You guys did not even built some trust with the people. And that cost you almost all your seats bar one in 2018. Mark you in 2023 or sooner whenever the PM calls the election you guys will lick you wounds once again. Drop the hatred. We are one small Twin Islands Nation. Antigua and Barbuda. A jah me barn.
      You know I love my countrymen/women regardless of their political persuation. Just because they are Antiguan and Barbudan. And when I travel and meet one it is a joy to introduce myself to whomever it is. Covid is no joke and we are blessed so far. You guys need to mature and grow up. Lets campaign together for Antigua and Barbuda. Not apart.

    • Leadership Matters was that weak ass tagine that got the UPP booted from office. The people got fed up of the “sunshine” a bun dem up.

      Jamale Pringle refused to be part of the Economic Recovery Committee. Why??? Was it because it wasn’t Lovell????????

  5. By the way, Arvel, you are preaching to the choir. Nothing you have said the PM has not already mentioned time and time again to the people. But perhaps they need to hear it from you. A non political figure. If the PM say take the vaccine it will protect you from dying from Covid 19, they that do not like him will not take it. Because of who told them. That is how silly they are. So silly it may one day cost their own demise.

      • It is better to then change your name from Antiguan Patriot to Antiguan Selfishness. Cause a Patriot cares for his fellow country men/women and if anything will do what it takes to protect his or her life. That is why most countries have an army and require every country men/women to serve in it. Look at Israel. And not to mention the USA that have the biggest fighting power on earth. All Patriots ready to die for their country men/women.
        And as President Biden said, take the vaccine it’s the most patriotic thing to do. You are protecting the life of your fellow men/women. Anything else is pure selfishness. Which is an Antiguan trademark I must admit.

  6. Don’t know how Joanne Massiah will feel about having her picture posted next to the shrimp who backstabbed, badplayed, badmind, badmouth and bad her in the run off for party leadership.

  7. FROM THE SIDELINE all your spinning of the facts cannot change the position that Gaston Browne has waged a campaign that the UPP leadership does not support the vaccination process when the opposite was the case. He politicizes everything then accuses the Opposition of doing what he himself is doing. Your point of linking the refusal of the UPP to participate in the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) to the current issue of the vaccination is evidence that you are just grasping at straw. The UPP did not officially participate in the ERC but it provided the government with its own recovery and stimulus plans and the government’s response was that it was implementing the said plans already. You need to tell Gaston that he cannot cuss and berate the Opposition in one breath and then in the other ask for all parties to work together for the common good. He needs to understand what leadership and statesmanship are all about.

  8. The retainer CT has no choice but to spew UPP rhetoric. I beg you all please forgive him!!!!

  9. JUST SAYING let me assure you that I have no retainer with the UPP and their is no legal relationship. What is the reason for you, FROM THE SIDELINE, TENMAN, PETE, CARSON B, PHILLIP G, BEEF, FREDERIC LAMPTON, CErmle and ERIC CARDEN spewing Gaston and ALP invariably false rhetoric?

    • No wonder your name was mentioned as the party spokes person on legal affair. AG in waiting. And it seems you are the lawyer for Harold in the case he wishes to pursue against Donna. You come better than that. As I said to you in another post stop trying to come through the back door. Offer yourself up for elected office if you have the balls.

  10. Charles, I have never cast even one vote for ALP ever. I am independent minded, but will offer support to those who show us their truth by their deeds.



  12. Start by getting rid of all the politicians who bribed citizens for their vote. That bullshit practice needs to come to an abrupt end.

    If not, maggots like world dictator traitor tyrant Gaston Browne and his cesspool crew will continue screwing our nation and our people.

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