Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley appealed to Barbadians today to stop raiding supermarkets and stores and hoarding supplies in reaction to COVID-19.
She assured the population: “There is no need for it, and in most instances we have two or three months’ supply on island for almost everything. The Ministry of Commerce has checked critical supplies and I am meeting with the Chamber of Commerce again this afternoon,” she told a meeting of media managers today.
Ms. Mottley said that Government was taking a very measured approach to the matter and urged the cooperation of the media bosses in helping her to convey this message.
Acknowledging that it was no longer if but when the first case would arrive in Barbados, the Prime Minister said: “I really am proud of my frontline workers from the Ministry of Health at our port facilities. We have been doing this now for over six weeks…. Barbados has been an example on how to manage a crisis.”
She said the key component now, because “we are closer to it than we were before”, would be to ensure that the Barbadian public did not panic and she told the media managers that they were a key part of that equation.
Prime Minister Mottley maintained that if a situation arises, Barbados was ready…. “We are more than ready. We have purchased the ventilators; we are also making sure that the pharmaceutical situation is in good shape, not just for COVID-19, but for all because the world is facing a disruption in supply…and therefore we have been planning ahead, not just for COVID-19 but for Barbados.”
In that respect, she said, another 750 acres of land was being brought back into domestic food production over the course of the next few weeks, which was planned even before this crisis, putting Barbados way ahead of the curve.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, told the meeting that Barbados was also enhancing its supply of testing kits for COVID-19 and the Pan American Health Organization will be providing 500 additional kits, while the Government would purchase more, as necessary.