Gonsalves admits his Gov’t should have stopped international flights

Dr Ralph-Gonsalves

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says his government should have banned international flights during the Christmas season and should not have allowed the Nine Mornings festival, in an effort to prevent an escalation of the COVID-19 cases.

Over the holiday season, St. Vincent and the Grenadines continued to allow flights from COVID-19 hotspots, such as the United States and thousands of persons participated in Nine Mornings, a unique Vincentian festival.

And, since December 28, hundreds of Vincentians with no recent travel history have tested positive or COVID-19, with the number now standing at 597 of the 738 cases recorded in the country.

“Of course, hindsight is always 2020 vision. Over the holidays, you should have banned the airlines, you should have [not] allowed any Nine Mornings to take place,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio .

“But we had just had elections where both political parties had thousands upon thousands of people at rallies,” he noted, speaking of the campaign for the November 5 general elections.

“So the persons who would have been doing the Nine Mornings would have said you could have 15,000 persons at one rally but now you don’t want to have 400 or 500 at a Nine Morning event, or 200 or 100? And people came home with their families and we [saw] some of these gatherings,” the prime minister reasoned.

“You take, for instance, we banned Luke Boyea and Skinny Fabulous from having their big events, and other people, too. But that did not stop people using the Facebook for 20, 30, 40, people to say let’s gather by Tom Browne house and Tom Browne organised a party and many of those parties were organised across this country,” Gonsalves said.

iWitness News understands that the cluster of cases in the Police Force emerged from a house party that several officers attended.

“We have, therefore, to have everybody buy into what we are doing. There are a lot of people involved in a lot of sophistry and petty fogging discussion. A lot of it is laced with political nonsense. Even take things which I have said before out of context and debating and arguing.”

Gonsalves was speaking two days after he announced two holidays, this weekend, which he pitched as an opportunity for Vincentians to rejuvenate in light of the stresses brought on by the pandemic and the on-going effusive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.

However, many Vincentians immediately concluded that the holidays were a veritable lockdown, aimed at restricting the movement of persons.

The prime minister encouraged residents not to go to beaches and have picnics and other celebratory events that generally take place on holidays in the country.

And, while no specific laws had been passed restricting movement or banning certain types of activities over the holiday weekend, the police issued a statement on Thursday saying they would be taking steps to enforce the COVID-19 protocols, which are largely Ministry of Health recommendations.

In his comments, Gonsalves noted that up to December 27, the country had just about 110 cases of COVID-19, most of which were imported or import-related.

“There was a spiral thereafter,” he said, adding that the reasons for this “are straightforward.

The prime minister said health authorities had suggested to him credible reasons for the spike in cases.

“The first one is the recurrent breach of the quarantine by several people — lot’s of people. Secondly, over the festive season, you had a lot more people coming in than before — people come to see their families and so on. Thirdly, there were a number of social gatherings, including family gatherings of various sizes, and, fourthly, there has been until recently, a general non-adherence to the COVID protocols put forward by the Health Service Sub-Committee of NEMO.  Taken together, we have this spiral,” Gonsalves.

“And they can’t be taken single. They have to be taken together,” he further stated.

“In short, we have to analyse properly and see what is the best thing which we can do. We have been doing it    quite well and then those four factors which I just mentioned in a composite way allowed it to get out of hand,” the prime minister said. (iWitness News)

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. Not taking this deadly pandemic seriously

    Antigua surely has as many of not more cases. But they’ll make sure not to test most sick people here.

    MSJMC with a 99% negative test rate. LOL.

    • You sound mentally sick. Sorry I dont usually make person attacks but when someone deliberately tries to bring down my island, I take it personal.

      You want them to say people positive when they are not?

      • JBF it is not your island alone. It is mine too. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t call out wrong when I see it.

      • Around Antigua.

        You have to be mentally deficient to think there are not.

        1. Do you see how rapidly it has spread in every country without serious protocols of quarantining, contact tracing, and widespread testing?

        2. Antigua has some of the most lax protocols in the world… Anyone, ANYONE from any high disease area can come here and not be tested on arrival or quarantined. Except for nationals of course as if that makes any sense.

        3. It is clear Antigua is under testing, not testing sudden deaths and then releasing as minimal info as possible about positive cases.

        So yes, Antigua is full of hundreds if not thousands of people with COVID.

        If there is not an immediate course correction, things are not going to end well.

        And yeah, 99% of tests being negative out of MSJMC is laughable.

        • You are obviously in a different world. Many persons who have visited Antigua have been pleased of all the protocols that our government have put in place.

          Some of you not even writing from a health perspective, just a political agenda. You guys want the government to close the country so that the economy can fall apart then you will be able to say the government has failed.

          Be real, we cannot afford to close the country for any long period, we simple do not have resources like the big countries. So it’s either we all die from starvation or we work through the situation and follow the guidelines.

          People hardly catching the common cold now because of all the hand washing and sanitizing that we doing. Yes a few persons not following the rules like anywhere else.

          One of the key factors that we have to look for is the rate of positivity and the persons who need hospitalization.

          So, we as citizens have to do our part to follow the rules and keep it down. The health workers are doing their part, so let us not over burden them.

          I write from a non-political perspective.

          • #JBF closing the country wouldn’t have make a difference to the economy because its already in tatters choose one money or your life you better not ask a politican that because we know what he or she will choose.

  2. I’ve been screaming at the top of my voice to close the flights from the hot spots to Àntigua . I hope that doesn’t await us.

  3. At least he had the guts to admit his errors.Unlike those other small islands Dictators.They were never wrong at anything.All of their decisions making were the greatest since sliced bread.People continue to use your senses and good judgements. Tell those Politicians to go to HELL.

  4. This man CAN’T be serious!

    Hind sight is 20/20?!

    Weren’t you paying attention to what’s taking place in the world? It’s the $$$ have you so?

    Lucky for you, you just concluded an election

    • It’s called fools Gold something we’re doing to ourselves when you allow tourists to. leave the airport and as an example can go to the supermarket . Then when there’s a local transmission in the community they blame the residents .

  5. No matter how you slice it or dice it all politicians are low lifers just out for one thing $$$ and power if you people keep putting your trust in politicians well you’re all doom along with your family from the time it was discovered that a more contagious strain of coronavirus all flights from the uk should have been put on hold just look at BARBADOS move from about 300 cases to well over a 1000 in 2weeks and the numbers are climbing by the day it’s community spread now with people with no travel history and still we get people coming on the radio and social media making excuses for the pm for not closing down the borders to uk flights.

    • Which part ya nah undersyand people haffu yam and hab family fu look after!!!! Not eberybady work fu government!!!!!! Aru who ah call fu airport fu lock down nah know da struggle!!!!

        • Are u going to feed me and my child? are u going to pay my morgage? are u going to pay my bills? should I sit on my a$$ and wait fu one government handout that only come election time? unlike u who is obvioulsy being paid by opposition political parties some people work to look after dem family not wait fu handout like u.

Comments are closed.