by Linda Straker
- Venezuela described as genuine friend to Grenada
- ALBA members agreed to work collectively
- Venezuela donated rapid test kits and antibody tests in April 2020
Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph has described Venezuela as a genuine friend to Grenada after disclosing that the South American Spanish-speaking nation is one of the countries that has presented the country with cash to help purchase Covid-19 vaccines.
“I wish to point out and highlight the contribution of the people and the Government of Venezuela. We know what Venezuela is going through; we know the blockade against Venezuela, we know all the protest that is taking place and, Mr Speaker, Venezuela has donated US$200,000 to Grenada for the purchase of vaccines in this difficult time,” Joseph told members during Tuesday’s sitting of the Lower House of Parliament.
He was at the time updating members of the House about activities undertaken and or achieved by his ministry in the last 2 months. Joseph began serving as Foreign Affairs Minister in October 2020; before that position, he was the Minister for Trade, Cooperatives and Caricom Affairs.
“That is a genuine friend; a friend in need and a friend indeed.” Joseph informed the sitting that members of ALBA recently met to discuss the situation of members created by Covid-19 and all members agreed to work collectively to help one another with this current situation.
ALBA is the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas comprising 10 member states and 3 observer states. In April 2020 Venezuela also donated rapid test kits and antibody tests to Grenada as part of its contribution to help test suspected cases of Covid-19.
Besides Venezuela, Joseph named other countries which have provided assistance to the country through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said Cuba send medical personnel to help deal with the Covid-19, while China donated PPEs and other items to help in the fight against Covid-19.
Grenada has received millions in loans or grants from international and or regional donors to assist in controlling and containing the spread of Covid-19 since it was declared a pandemic during the first quarter of 2020.
Presently, there are 3 active cases on the island. However, since the first case was confirmed in March 2020 the total number of cases with the inclusion of the 3 put the island’s total cases at 151. There has been one death.
The country began its vaccination programme with the AstraZeneca vaccine on 12 February, and to date, more than 4,000 people have been vaccinated.