Prayers answered, says Dominican PM as India’s vaccine lands in Caribbean island
- Dominican PM Roosevelt Skerrit said he, as leader of a country with a population of just 72,000, "did not see the chances of getting such a swift positive response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi"
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Tuesday showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for New Delhi’s swift response to his request for 35,000 Covid-19 vaccines that can shield nearly half his country’s 72,000-strong population from the deadly virus. PM Skerrit, who sought the vaccines on January 19, said he hadn’t really hoped to get the vaccines so soon.
The vaccines were flown to Dominica’s Douglas–Charles Airport in neighbouring Barbados’ Air National Guard’s plane on Tuesday.
PM Skerrit and his cabinet colleagues formally received the vaccines; they even helped unload some of the boxes of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the plane.
“I must confess that I did not imagine that the prayers of my country would be answered so swiftly…. One would have thought and understood that in a global pandemic such as this, a nation's size and might would have been the primary considerations. But it is to the credit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that our request was considered on merit and the equality of our people was recognised,” PM Skerrit said at a formal ceremony at the airport held soon after the plane with the vaccines arrived.
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India’s donation of 35,000 vaccines to Dominica is part of PM Modi’s pledge to help other countries overcome the pandemic challenges. Apart from countries in India’s neighbourhood, India has cleared commercial supply of nearly 24 million vaccines to 25 countries including Uganda, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Morocco, and Namibia in February
“Tonight signifies the start of the fightback by the Caribbean islands against the virus that has threatened the livelihood of every CARICOM (Caribbean Community) national,” he said. The Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, is a grouping of twenty countries including 15 member states and 5 associate members.
The Dominican prime minister echoed the sentiment in a ‘thank you’ note that he wrote to PM Modi.
“In 2020, like many nations across the globe, we were dealt an extraordinary blow by the Covid-19 crisis. However, your vaccines will allow us to move forward with renewed hope and optimism, and to reignite the many projects that Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted," PM Skerrit said in his 9 February letter to PM Modi. HT has accessed the letter.
“Thanks to the kindness of the Indian nation, 35,000 Dominicans will be vaccinated by April 2021… India has once again come to Dominica's aid, and this too will not be forgotten,” he wrote.