Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has called for greater access to vaccines by the Caribbean and Africa, as these nations continue their fight against the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Addressing the Africa Day webinar on Tuesday (May 25), Mr. Holness emphasised: “Africa cannot be denied opportunities, nor can the Caribbean, if we are to truly advance the ethos that no one must be left behind.”
“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,” Mr. Holness said.
“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,” he added.
The Prime Minister 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 also expressed appreciation for their kindness in allowing CARICOM countries, such as Jamaica, to have access and participation in such initiatives.
“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,” Mr. Holness said.
The Africa Day webinar was held 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.