Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is of the view that any opportunities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic should be grasped and used to transform societies in the region.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view on Sunday, when she addressed the first virtual Multiple District Convention of the Lions Club International Multiple District 60. The meeting was held from May 27 to 30.
The Prime Minister told her audience: “COVID-19 has brought with it just not threats but new opportunities for our region. What we need to do now, is to seize these opportunities.
“Opportunities for our societies to be transformed, such that the generations to come will have cleaner air to breathe by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels; cleaner and more productive oceans by better management of our marine resources; and better management of our land space, such that we ensure that there is greater food security for our people nationally and for our region.”
She thanked the members of the Lions Club for their unwavering commitment to tackling some of the most difficult challenges of our time, identifying some as cancer, diabetes, drug addiction, as well as the environment and climate crisis. However, she urged the Lions to examine the issue of mental wellness.
“Too many of our people are succumbing to that (mental health issues), particularly under the weight of COVID-19 and all of the restrictions that have necessarily come with it to protect our people,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley said the track record of the Lions made it a “natural partner” for the work she was undertaking as co-chair of the One Health Initiative on the issue of antimicrobial resistance, which is described as a slow motion pandemic.
“I would like to ensure that we have discussions with you, as we are seeking to move to many NGOs to ensure that the message gets forward that we not only have the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have this slow motion pandemic, and…by 2050, it will be responsible, we believe, for more deaths than any other single thing,” she proffered.
During her address, the Prime Minister highlighted the Lions’ Eye Care Centre, saying it had been of tremendous benefit to health care and those who needed it in this country. She added that it had played a critical role in preventing blindness in the Caribbean region.
Ms. Mottley also underlined the developmental role played by the Leo Clubs and suggested that the future could only be bright if young people were involved in society-building activities, such as those the Lions had mastered.