NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 22, 2021) – – Hon. Premier Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs for St. Kitts and Nevis, has made intervention to its ally the United States of America for the provision of COVID-19 vaccines for the federation and the rest of the Caribbean region.
Hon. Brantley, through recent correspondence to the US Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean, the OECS and Barbados, Linda Taglialatela, implored the US government to make vaccines available to the small island developing states with some urgency.
“We in the Caribbean continue to make the passionate plea that vaccines be made available to us with some alacrity…
“We are aware from reports in the New York Times just yesterday that the great United States of America has made vaccines available to Mexico and Canada.
“I have myself indicated to the United States that…having benefitted the other two borders Mexico and Canada, that it would perhaps be useful for them to think of their third border, the Caribbean, and to make vaccines available to us in the region as well,” he said.
The Premier made the disclosure during his presentation at a virtual forum hosted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) on “Legal challenges faced by the Caribbean in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”, held March19, 2021.
The Foreign Minister noted that St. Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region, including Latin America, have been experiencing some challenges accessing COVID-19 vaccines.
He urged the OAS General Secretary for assistance in this regard.
“The difficulty of course, is that we have not been able to access sufficient vaccines to satisfy our populations…
“The other issue of course has to do with the equality of vaccine access and that has proven problematic, because naturally some countries are in a better financial position than others, some countries are themselves producers of vaccines.
“And I’m happy Secretary General that you are here because I think through your office we can assist each other in saying that there has to be a human right to the equitable access of vaccines, because as we have said and continue to maintain, none of us is safe until all of us are safe.
“And so Secretary General I would urge the OAS to be a voice and an advocate for us in that regard…I feel that we have vested interest in insisting that vaccines be made available to our people on an equitable basis,” he said.
Mr. Luis Amalgro, OAS Secretary-General, who was also a participant in the important forum, said he was in agreement with Minister Brantley’s position on equitable access to the vaccine for the region.
“I completely agree with you. I have assumed the challenge you have put on us and I think we should work very hard in relation to this matter. Most of us agree that the COVID-19 vaccine should be distributed fairly worldwide because we believe in the principle of fairness…
“The global pandemic requires a response based on unity, solidarity and multi-lateral cooperation to ensure that all states have access to vaccines,” he said.
The OAS Secretary General said he too joins the call for equal access to and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.