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Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, in his New Year statement said that the Region is looking forward to receiving its first allocation of the coronavirus vaccine as members of the COVAX Facility.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) enters this New Year 2021 with renewed hope for emerging from the darkness of the past year. The promising light at the end of the tunnel provided by the vaccine for COVID-19 provides the possibility of relief from the health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic. The Community has signed on to the COVAX Facility and looks forward to receiving its quota as soon as it becomes available in the New Year,” Dr. Rowley stated.
However, he noted that, ultimately, it is the responsibility of CARICOM members to make use of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and other institutions to ensure full recovery and a better footing for all Member States.
The incoming Chairman highlighted that in this recovery stage, the same collective, coordinated and focused actions must be employed for control the spread of the virus. He said that Member States much have the discipline to maintain the protocols that help to prevent contamination as the less strain placed on health systems will directly benefit the economic and financial situation.
He stated: “Even as we vigorously pursue the possibilities of support from the International Financial Institutions and other avenues, we must look at making full use of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as our principal means of recovery. It is that confidence in ourselves and our institutions, our intellectual capacity and creativity, and the platform we have laid which will lead us on the path to recovery…let this be the year that we make CARICOM work for us, as we build back better and construct the resilient society that will provide a safe, prosperous and viable Community for all of us.”
Since the emergence of the virus, CARICOM countries have confirmed over 34,000 cases of COVID-19. Over 700 persons have died even as there have been over 22,000 recoveries.