Take steps to fight pandemic, Skerrit tells Dominicans
Roseau – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has issued an appeal to Dominicans to take all the necessary steps to fight the pandemic that has to date, led to one death on the island.
In an address to the nation on Saturday, Skerrit said that citizens should use “simple, old common sense to fight its way out of the clutches of this disease and back to a position of normality in numbers”.
In stating that the pandemic could be around for some time, the prime minister noted that his administration will be employing a programme of pragmatism.
“We have ensured an adequate supply of different vaccines in Dominica. We are now working feverishly to acquire the infrastructure to house and administer the highly acclaimed Pfizer vaccine, a donation from the US government. We will get all the vaccines to Dominica. I will go as far as to say, we will get all the vaccines within reach of every community in Dominica. We will find the resources to equip and staff centres with all that is needed to administer vaccinations to those who come forward for vaccinations.”
He said, however, that in the final analysis, “it is up to the people of Dominica to decide on what each of you wish not only for yourselves but for your families, neighbours, friends and work colleagues”.
Skerrit, who is also finance minister, said that he is determined to keep the country afloat and progressing even in the midst of the pandemic.
“This past month, however, we have felt and experienced the gravity and the reality of the crippling nature of this global phenomenon. Unfortunately, we recorded our first COVID-19 related death. I am not here this evening to peer into the past. How it got here, who brought it here and exactly what is here will be the topic of discussion for some time to come.”
Skwrrit told the nation that he will not be going to the Parliament to pass a law to make it mandatory for anybody to take the vaccine.
“I am not going to instruct the police to stop anyone and inquirer whether they have taken the vaccine or not. What I am doing is asking each Dominican to apply simple common sense to what they are doing.
“If you refuse to be vaccinated, if you refuse to wear a mask, if you refuse to social distance and practice healthy habits, the chances are high that you will contract the virus and that you will pass it onto others. You may survive but others, sadly, may not.
“If you do not care about those around you. If you are not concerned about the danger that your refusal to equip yourselves poses to your friends and loved ones, then all I can say is that Dominicans would not be as wise as I thought them to be.”
“We do not have gold; we do not have oil. We are not a large exporter of goods or services. We need our ports of entry open and we need to trade and do business with the outside world. If we do not unite to fight COVID, COVID will defeat us.”
He added that everything will be done to keep the economy afloat and Dominican will be open for business.
“My government will not make Peter pay for Paul. We will not lock the innocent in their homes because of the selfishness and recklessness of the guilty. We will not cause those who need to earn a living to go without bread or money to pay rent, simply because a few misguided among us, refuse to see the light.
We live in an era where working from home is becoming more of the norm than an aberration. Accordingly, we shall encourage employers, even in the public service, to assign as many persons as possible to work from home. Businesses which were not allowed to open over the last three weeks will be allowed to open with very few exceptions.”
The Prime Minister also said that the government will not curtail travel.
“But we shall appeal to travelers to be responsible. Do not expose yourself and do not be exposed unnecessarily to catching this virus. The Government is doing what it can and what it must to manage the spread of this virus across Dominica. We are supplying vaccines. We have stocked up on supplies. We have adequate accommodation for a reasonable number of persons who may catch the virus, in spite of!
“But I am warning every single Dominica right now, we do not have the capacity for a major wave of this virus overtaking our country. No island in the region or even the world does,” he said. (CMC)