Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he is prepared to allow carnival to take place in the Caribbean country this year if there is a huge take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We will have carnival in July, if as we come up to the month of May, that I see that we have reached a level where I can see that we have reached a level of 70/80 per cent of the above 18 population, and it may go down to 16,”
St Vincent and the Grenadines is the home of Vincy Mas, a carnival event that has been branded as the ‘Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean. It was not held due to COVID-19 last year, but as Gonsalves said, “
The circumstances today are different from the circumstances last year. We didn’t have the vaccine last year around carnival.”
Gonsalves has taken the COVID-19 vaccine, and joked that he is not growing horns or a tail.
“I took it and I am urging you to take it ” the prime minister said, adding that vaccines are scarce across the world, but there are persons in his country who are waiting to take the jab.
“They are waiting, waiting for what? In the long run, we are all dead.”
St Vincent and the Grenadines, a nation of nearly 112,000 people, has recorded 1,680 cases of COVID-19, nine of which has resulted in death. Gonsalves said that his country has not been immune to the economic ravages brought on by the pandemic.
“We have been holding it together, but to get back to normalcy you need to take this vaccine,” Gonsalves said.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines leader was speaking at a Heroes Day service in his native land on Sunday.
He said that the children of the country are hurting as a result of not being in school. He urged his countrymen to take the jab, arguing that vaccines have proven effective in combating diseases such as polio, rubella, yellow fever, small pox and measles.
“Children died from these infections. We are not going to get back to normalcy unless we have ourselves vaccinated. The science tells us so. For those who say that they are risks, the risks or not taking it far outweigh the taking of the vaccine,”
“Taking the vaccine is an important part in the current period of defending your country, defending your patrimony, defending your civilization, promoting wellbeing and strengthening the road now and ahead for our lives, our livelihoods and for production,”