Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw underscored the importance of consultation during the first town hall meeting organised to give Barbadians an opportunity to share their views on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.
Ms. Bradshaw told those gathered at the Alexandra School and online that all views and ideas were encouraged.
The acting Prime Minister said: “When the decision was taken at the last Social Partnership meeting a few weeks ago to host these consultations, there was consensus amongst government, employer and employee representatives that the views on the issue of vaccination and testing are so diverse and so complex that no firm positions or even decisions should be taken without extensive consultation with the general public….
“We are not here to preach to anyone; we are not here to sell one position over the other. We are not here to tell you that one side is right and one side is wrong, but rather, we are here to listen. We want to know what the positions are that you all have on this matter, and we want to know them because we want to make sure that people are comfortable in making decisions which affect them.”
Ms. Bradshaw noted that the officials were aware that many people had given thought to COVID-19 and its impact, and might have alternative ideas on how the issue of vaccination and vaccinating others to get the economy moving again could be addressed.
During her wrap-up, Ms. Bradshaw stated that the discussions had given the officials present “food for thought”, and she was eagerly anticipating the other meetings. “We certainly look forward to the very next session, where, hopefully, more stimulating thoughts can come through and perhaps even more recommendations, as we move forward,” she stated.
The next town hall meeting will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11, at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, Six Roads, St. Philip. The others will take place on Monday, August 16, at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Kingsland, Christ Church, and on Wednesday, August 18, at Combermere School, Waterford, St. Michael. Each session will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The meetings are being held face-to-face and via Zoom, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of 80 persons will be allowed at each venue. To register for the face-to-face meetings, persons should call 535-1400, while those who prefer the online platform should register for the sessions as follows:
Princess Margaret Secondary School
Deighton Griffith Secondary School