Representatives Of Grenada’s Ruling And Main Opposition Party Meet To Discuss Collaboration In Fighting COVID-19

PR – Representatives of Grenada’s two main political parties held  discussions Thursday on fostering greater collaboration in addressing the COVID-19  pandemic and its current impact on the country and its people. 

Initiated by Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, and readily accepted  by Acting Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress, Adrian Thomas, the  meeting underscored the need for unity in addressing COVID-19. Other attendees  included Joseph Andall of the NDC and Anthony Boatswain of the NNP. 

After successfully managing the pandemic for more than a year, Grenada transitioned to  community spread in recent weeks, and as of September 15, the country recorded a total  of 2,210 active cases, the majority of which are locally transmitted. 

Thursday’s meeting therefore underscored the urgency of the situation and the equally  urgent need for a collaborative approach to curbing the spread of the virus and addressing  vaccine hesitancy among Grenadians. 

Discussion points included the quarantine period for fully-vaccinated persons entering the  country; increasing the number of testing and vaccination sites across the country to  reduce the potential for crowded venues; establishment of a separate isolation unit for  COVID-19 patients; the recruitment of more volunteers to assist with public education and  manning the COVID-19 hotline and improving the capacity of the hotline with support from  telecommunications providers. 

The meeting also identified the need to expand the list of potential beneficiaries under the  COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package to bring greater relief to persons affected by the  temporary closure of many non-essential businesses, and who have been left without an  income. It was also suggested that Government encourage utility companies and financial  institutions to offer moratoriums to customers, as a means of financial relief.

Efforts are already underway to address some of the areas highlighted, but there was  general agreement to give consideration to more of these. 

In addition to political parties working together, there was unanimous support for the idea  for popular persons in the performing arts sector to work together to produce promotional  material that will provide relevant messages in an entertaining format. Another suggestion  was for calypsonians and soca artistes to unite to create similar messages that would  resonate with various sections of the population. 

Mention was made of the willingness of persons in the diaspora to support COVID-19  initiatives in Grenada through donations, and the NDC representatives proposed possible  concessions, an idea the Prime Minister commended the NDC for, and agreed that consideration can be given to a clear and transparent proposal for same. 

With respect to the distribution of relief supplies to persons in need, it was agreed that a  nonpartisan approach should be adopted, using the National Disaster Management  Agency and/or community-based organisations that will be maintain impartiality. 

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Charles joined the meeting briefly to provide  clarity on specific concerns such as the quarantine period. He explained that because  Grenada has transitioned to community spread, adjustment in entry protocols will not stop  the rate of infection. Instead, he highlighted the need for a change in behaviour which he  said can be influenced through greater mobilisation of messengers from different sectors 

to share COVID-19 information. All attendees thanked Dr. Charles for his presentation. 

The overriding consensus coming out of Thursday’s meeting is that the fight against  COVID-19 goes beyond any political party or other affiliation, it deals with life and death.  It is about setting any differences and working together for the benefit of all of Grenada,  Carriacou and Petite Martinique. As such, the suggestion was made for the creation of a  COVID-19 Task Force that will include representatives of political parties and other  interest groups that are committed to fostering a united front in tackling the pandemic.