A four-page letter has been written by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to his Grenadian Counterpart, Dr. Keith Mitchell, regarding the movement of Grenadians who belong to Carriacou and Petit Martinique, to the Southern Grenadines, especially Union Island.
In a letter dated April 14, 2020, Dr. Gonsalves said the allegations made by Dr. Mitchell are irresponsible and wholly unfounded, and has called on him to withdraw it.
Dr. Mitchell had expressed his concern that residents of Carriacou and Petite Martinique had been travelling to Union Island, to buy food, despite a total shutdown of the Grenadian borders because of the COVID-10 pandemic.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said the statements contained several inaccuracies that the borders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines were, and are, open at the time of COVID-19 and that PM Gonsalves invited residents of Carriacou and Petit Martinique to enter St. Vincent and the Grenadines in defiance of Grenada’s closure of ports, curfew, and “lock down”.
Dr. Gonsalves stated that given the history and culture of “free movement of persons” between the islands of the Southern Grenadines, the government of SVG offered to assist, if assistance were required, with food, medicine, and cooking gas “but in a structured and organised manner”.
This genuine and helpful offer was in response to the residents of Carriacou and Petit Martinique arriving in Union Island — despite your government’s curfew and “lock-down” — to purchase or to arrange in the purchase of the said commodities in more than modest quantities.
Underlying your comments, I sense an unstated assumption or implication that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has opted for a less focused approach than that of some neighboring countries in the fight against COVID-19. That imputation, too, is false!
He said the authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have not adopted draconian or near-draconian measures, but we have followed the science and the generally-accepted sensible protocols on COVID-19; and we have applied them efficaciously to our circumstances in their fluidity and evolution.
Dr. Gonsalves said this country has carried out a relentless campaign against COVID-19 without recourse to a “lock-down”, curfew, or a state of emergency; we have used other levers at the disposal of the government to fight this dreaded infectious disease;
He in the process we know always that we can count on the love, grace, and blessings of Almighty God to see us through this terrible ordeal of COVID-19.