Prime Minister Gaston Browne is highly critical of the action of the world’s wealthier nations whom he has accused of hoarding the vaccines developed to fight the COVID-19 virus. But at the same time, PM Browne has expressed disappointment that the Caribbean’s neighbours to the north – the United States and Canada – have not shown a commitment to ensure that these countries gain access to the vaccines.
“I think the US and Canada, in particular, ought to take greater interest in the Caribbean region. I don’t see how they can leave us to languish like this. We share a common geographical space, we are linked by a common history and by millions of our people who call those countries home,” he told the audience of his weekly Browne and Browne show.
The Antigua and Barbuda leader said he hopes these two countries would be “more responsive” to the needs of the people of the region which the US in particular has always referred to as its ‘third border.’
While this is happening, the Prime Minister noted that some countries that are not part of this hemisphere have been very responsive to the needs of the Caribbean.
He singled out the government of India which has already committed fifty thousand doses of the vaccine to Barbados and has also made a commitment of a set amount to Antigua and Barbuda, which is to be confirmed this week.
“One would have expected this type of assistance from the United States and Canada as they should be more willing to assist us. Whenever there is any candidature or global issues they lobby us. Now that we are facing this most significant challenge they disappear. This is totally unacceptable!” PM Browne declared.
He was equally critical of the wealthy nations for not readily making the vaccines available to the less developed and poorer countries.
“Wealthy countries are getting vaccines many times the size of their populations and in the process literally leaving developing countries vulnerable,” he lamented.
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