Trinidad and Tobago backs US call for covid19 summit

TRINIDAD and Tobago supports US President Joe Biden’s call for a global covid19 summit, which among other things, will address the danger posed by many of the world’s population being unvaccinated against covid19.

The US government on Wednesday hinted that this summit could take place around September 20, when meetings of the UN General Assembly in New York are expected to take place.

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A statement issued on Friday by the Foreign and Caricom Affairs Ministry said the Prime Minister welcomed this initiative by the US. The ministry recalled that during his tenure as Caricom chairman from January 1-June 30, Dr Rowley convened a special meeting of Caricom leaders to address covid19 vaccine availability, among several high-priority matters related to Caricom’s response to the covid19 pandemic.

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The ministry said a statement issued by Caricom after this meeting on January 12 registered the region’s concern about the prospect of inequitable access to covid19 vaccines at the time.

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“A key outcome (of the meeting) was a call by Caricom for a global summit in the context of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ACT-A Facilitation Council to discuss equitable access and distribution of the covid19 vaccines.”

The ministry said Rowley continued to advocate for a global covid19 summit when he wrote to WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu,in January about inequity in covid19 vaccine distribution between countries with greater resources and smaller states (such as those in the Caribbean). Rowley, the ministry continued, reiterated his call for a summit at the 32nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of Caricom Heads of Government at the end of February.

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The ministry said Rowley also wrote to Biden and leaders of other developed countries on March 4 on the issue.

Rowley’s call for a summit, the ministry continued, was joined in March by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), under the presidency of Mexico. At that time CELAC said, ” We are convinced that the pandemic caused by covid19 has highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong, united and supportive region, where no country is excluded from universal, fair, equitable and timely access to medicines, vaccines and medical supplies.”

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The ministry said Rowley looks forward to collaborating with other world leaders at this summit “and to reaching agreement on measures critical to sustaining the lives and livelihoods of persons in all countries.”

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