Barbados PM Says Coordinated Approach To COVID-19 Response Needed

(CMC) — Prime Minister Mia Mottley has suggested that a collaborated and coordinated approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic would give the region a better chance of beating the deadly virus.

Addressing the virtual 22nd Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday, she said: “If we had had a coordinated approach even to the shutdowns that individual countries across the Americas and across the world are undertaking in defence of their own people, then we would have had and could still have a realistic chance of fighting COVID in a way that eliminates it from the global landscape.

“But our ability to do so has been compromised by the fact that each of us has taken individual action rather than globally coordinated action. This is the perfect example of why multilateralism must work for our benefit if we are to make a difference for our people across the region,” she added.

The two-day meeting has been organised by the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification and its theme is ‘The Environmental Dimension of the COVID-19 Sustainable Recovery Response for Latin America and the Caribbean’.

Prime Minister Mottley noted that Cuba had assisted many nations, including Barbados, to fight the pandemic. More than 110 medical, nursing and lab technicians are on island giving support to the health officials.

“It is for this reason we support Cuba as being a country that should be globally recognised for its continued support to assist in the medical area, reinforcing our ability to protect our environment by allowing us to protect our people,” she said.

The Barbadian leader said environmental challenges travelled across boundaries and brought nations together, if allowed.

She emphasised, though, that the political will must be present for that to happen.

Mottley told her audience that fundamental reforms must take place in the Forum if they were to tackle the myriad environmental challenges.

“This is a sine qua non if the Forum is to bring meaning to our people and if it is to remain relevant in this rapidly changing world.

“It is an issue for which urgent attention is needed. I am aware that recommendations have been made in this regard and I encourage us to continue our efforts in the intersessional period to strengthen the governance and effectiveness of the Forum,” she encouraged.

The Prime Minister stressed that the Forum must be able to translate decisions into tangible action on behalf of the people of the hemisphere.

The absence of this action, Mottley indicated, would cause people to feel that officials were not seriously interested in changing the trajectory of the climate crisis.