Barbados and other countries in the world have the potential to become locations for the manufacturing and or bottling of vaccines.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley raised this point, as she addressed a press briefing on the first day of the 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15), presently under way at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“We can only ask that all of our actions move to a point of vaccine equity. And we can only ask that there also be an urgency about identifying locations such as ours and others in other parts of the world to become locations for the manufacturing and or bottling of vaccines, so as to ensure a ready capacity to distribute to those most in need,” Ms. Mottley indicated.
The Prime Minister made it clear that she did not believe it was impossible for vaccine manufacturing and bottling plants to be made available throughout every region in the world “to ensure the shortest distance to people’s arms”.
Ms. Mottley said the Caribbean was grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which was “taking down” families.
“We are at a point where the pandemic will finish when we decide as a people globally that it must finish. And until such time, we will continue to have persons being affected by it. And we are in the race against further mutations and variants that may well be worse than what we see in Delta, which is bad enough,” she cautioned.
During her presentation, the Prime Minister also repeated calls for international support for the challenges being faced by small island developing states as it relates to climate change and its effects.
Noting that Barbados was now the largest issuer of natural disaster clauses and bonds globally, followed by Grenada, she called on multilateral institutions to include provisions for such in their operations.
That, she said, would give lenders the assurance that their money “was safe” if a borrowing country was impacted by a disaster, as it would give a two-year moratorium for the payment of debts.
Ms. Mottley added that there were also a number of other issues that could arise from climatic events such as the cost of insurance, which was a critical component of any financial transaction.
She noted that it was clear that there must be a spirit of compromise to tackle global problems as no country, individual company, or individual could survive on its own.
If we know this in our day-to-day lives, it is impossible to accept that we are not seeing that spirit of compromise and give and take in the international community at this very perilous time,” she stated.
The Prime Minister gave the undertaking that during the discussions, which conclude on October 7, that they would continue to advocate on behalf of small island developing states, which could have a voice for the people of the world.