Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling for greater access to resources such as vaccines for the Caribbean and Africa particularly in light of the global pandemic COVID-19.
Addressing Africa Day Webinar yesterday (Tuesday, May 25,2021), Prime Minister Holness said: “Africa cannot be denied opportunities, nor can the Caribbean, if we are to truly advance the ethos that ‘no one must be left behind.”
The Prime Minister continued:
“It cannot be morally justified that rich countries, many of whom gained their wealth and scientific advantage through the exploitation of Africa and its people, now use this wealth and scientific advantage to hoard and stockpile vaccines while the poor and historically exploited and deprived countries, wait in uncertainty to access equitable and consistent supplies, their populations at risk and their economies on pause. It would be the greatest setback for mankind, if inequitable vaccine access were to cause uneven recovery and a widening of the development gap between rich and poor globally.”
In the meantime, the Prime Minster commended the Government of the Republic of South Africa and President Cyril Ramaphosa for his vision in establishing the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust and the African Medical Supplies Platform. He further expressed appreciation for their kindness in allowing CARICOM countries such as Jamaica to have access and participation in such initiatives.
Prime Minister says, “this has not only become a critical lifeline for our COVID-19 vaccination response, but a flagship example of South-South Cooperation on critical developmental matters, leveraging the purchasing power of Africa as a whole on behalf of smaller more dispersed populations.”
The Prime Minister has joined with President Ramaphosa and a number of African and Jamaican delegates in celebration of Africa Day 2021 under the theme, “A conversation with Africa; A destiny of peace, prosperity, strength and unity”
Africa Day is intended to commemorate and acknowledge African solidarity, Unity in diversity, creativity, challenges and successes. This occasion gives a chance to reflect on the progress made through cooperation in the anti-apartheid and liberation struggle and an opportunity to craft meaningful agendas in unity towards finding solutions to challenges.