Letters & Opinion

The Side Effects of Anti-Vax

By James Edwin

THE current administration has its work well cut out for the next two years in office based on the construction of the HIA Terminal, St. Jude Hospital, the Rodney Bay four lane Highway and the two roundabouts.

In addition to those projects the 21.9 million US dollar thermal energy project which the former government pioneered is now fully funded and ready for implementation. Unfortunately, there will be serious distractions as the Covid situation has again raised its head leaving the administration with drastic decisions in having to plan the best way forward.

The tourism ministry must remain focused at this time with the Covid acceleration as the last thing we need is any form of down grading by our market suppliers. We must remain cognizant of the traffic light system introduced by the UK government, consequently, focusing on the current and forth coming situation is most essential based upon the fact that Virgin Atlantic intends servicing the island once more.

Another serious and sensitive issue is the situation of the anti-vax approach within the Caribbean which appears to be gaining momentum. Unless our Caribbean people understand the dire consequences of refraining from the vaccine, our economies which are currently on edge are likely to tip over at any time. Small island states like ours are unable to support ourselves and must resort to borrowing sensibly to enhance our monetary contributions in the absence of insufficient skilled labour to address the manufacturing industry and secondly, as we are unable to produce sufficiently to feed ourselves.

These are scary shortfalls for self-sufficiency with limited hopes of ever counteracting these issues in the short term. Based on the forgoing, we should not leave ourselves exposed to the whims and fancies of the international community by implementing sanctions based on a saturated coronavirus atmosphere.

In other words, we in the Caribbean must work diligently and sensibly in convincing our people that taking the vaccine is not only an option, but a necessity to secure and support our economies. Once the US and UK decide that our shores remain unsafe for their citizens, our economies will surely end up in a tailspin and as we are aware tourism at this time is irreplaceable. Further, without a vibrant tourism industry, the following linkages are likely to collapse, viz: agriculture, Air B&B, tour companies, taxi associations, the hotel industry, SLASPA’s head tax and landing fees (annual income 95 million dollars). The hotel industry with a compliment of 15000 employees and the back lash of all the indirect businesses like the hardware and construction sector and so the list goes on.

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