Abdias Samuel

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 26th March 2021)- Chairman of the COVID-19 National Task Force Abdias Samuel has pointed out that while the vaccination programme seeking herd immunity here in St.Kitts-Nevis is not political all influencers are needed in encouraging for an all of society approach.

“Mr. [Lesroy]Williams [task force chairman of Communications] said it is not a political thing but we have to reach the influencers in the community and I appealing to all political parties in the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis to encourage their supporters to encourage their people to support the science and reach them on the importance of vaccination.”
Samuel said so at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing held on Wednesday 24th March 2021.

According to him: “The National COVID-19 Task Force has made an appeal and sent an invitation to all the political parties and we are hopeful that next week we can have a fruitful discussion on the way forward because we have been consulted with a number of international consultants to develop a roadmap to recovery and this road map to recovery must be inclusive of every single society and every single member of St.Kitts and Nevis. All of society approach.”

As understood, religious, civic and fraternal organizations are included in the contacted groups of the St.Kitts-Nevis community.

Samuel said he was amazed having attended a tourism stakeholders meeting that day noting that the majority of individuals taking the vaccine is in the tourism sector.

“The outcry is the ordinary man and woman do not want to take the vaccine because they are waiting,” he expressed whilst encouraging “It’s not only the tourism sector. It’s all of society.”
He went on to talk about the responsibility of each individual.

“If we are going to slowly take St.Kitts and Nevis into a slow socio-economic suicide by us not following the guidance of science having the treatment to overcome the pandemic and not vaccinate then that’s gonna have to be a responsibility that you will have to take and not put the blame on government or any ministries, departments or anyone else but your own selves.”

He continued: “So therefore you have seen that 90 per cent of the doctors would have gone and accepted the vaccine. You would have seen that persons within the business sector. The CMO [Chief Medical Officer] has stated the challenge with access to vaccines so we have for 10,000 [individuals]. We need to reach 33,000.”

Samuel continued: “We get the next batches of vaccines if access becomes a challenge then what? Where will you be counted and that is something you the general public have to make that personal decision and decide because the reality is as stated by the Minister of Tourism in today’s meeting at some point in time, the ship industry is going to decide that unless your country is vaccinated and they can provide the protection for our passengers our customers then we will not come to your port. This will not be the responsibility of a Government. This will have to be the personal responsibility of every individual who refused to accept the vaccination process, and that’s the true reality.”
The task force Chairman praised the public cooperation during the lockdowns.

“We have been talking for long enough and all that we’re asking the general public is to continue to follow us just like you did in the beginning. The beginning when we went into the lockdown, the country followed. We went together as a nation. Coming out of the lockdown, we came together and we have been doing well. We’ve reached the level now where we have the treatment to get us out of the pandemic and now we’re saying ‘no, we don’t want to get out. Let us stay on this choke hold where eventually we’re going to have a strong socio-economic impact.”

Samuel touched on some “frightening” data stemming from the past lockdowns in appealing to the public saying: “Let me just share with you some of the data that was frightening to us here at the COVID-19 National Task Force. The increase in domestic violence that was reported by the police during the times of lockdowns was significant. The impact on the mental health of our elders during the lockdowns was extremely significant.”