(By Ernesto Cooke) – St Vincent and the Grenadines received no money from any institution to ensure deaths from COVID-19.
Gonsalves Addresses Conspiracy Theory
Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves said, his government started a discussion with the World Bank which was accelerated during the COIVD pandemic.
Gonsalves said out of that discussion St Vincent got 100 Million Eastern Caribbean Dollars.
“We said this is 45 years money, at zero per cent interest, so we called it a gift, but you have to repay the money”.
I believe that is where all the rumours started, the Prime Minister said.
Gonsalves said that the government took 20 Million to help with certain things, while they instructed the world Bank to place a hold on the other 20 Million.
“We told them to keep the other half as part of a catastrophic drawdown option, that’s in addition to the tax on hotel rooms, and the additional 1 per cent on the VAT which we had put in”.
Gonsalves said if the worst were to happen, like La Soufriere’s eruption, his Government could draw down on the World Bank’s money.
“So yes, I have heard the discussion that we got money from World Bank, well is money to pay back”.
Gonsalves said he does not see the evidence for the conspiracy.
The Prime Minister said he does not buy into it. “I don’t see the evidence for it all”, Gonsalves said.
According to NEWSBREAK an online media publication, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was quoted as saying via Belarusian Telegraph Agency, World Bank and the IMF offered him a bribe of USD 940 million.
In exchange for the money according to NEWSBREAK, the World Bank and IMF demanded that the President of Belarus:
• imposed “extreme lockdown on his people.”
• force them to wear face masks
• impose stringent curfews
• impose a police state
• crash the economy
An IMF media conference transcript of September 2020 said that in March 2020, Belarus approached the Fund with a request to discuss possible emergency assistance; however, no agreement was reached.
According to the transcript, the Rapid Financing Instrument emergency financing mechanisms was also discussed.
The RPI does not carry hard conditionalities, but assurances of transparency and appropriate policy actions are required to ensure that the funds are used to facilitate economic stabilities.
The transcript further stated that the IMF did not demand quarantine, isolation, and lockdown, but sought assurances for steps to contain the pandemic in line with WHO recommendations, a standard operating procedure in all countries.
Two health care workers in St Vincent have tested positive for COVID-19. This information was made public by the CMO, Dr Simone Keizar – Beache, on Tuesday.
On Wednesday St Vincent’s Health Ministry said top health officials were advised to self-quarantine.
The statement said the country’s Health Minister St Clair Prince, Chief Medical Officer Simone Keizer-Beache and the Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Cuthbert Knights are in quarantine for a period of five (5) days ending Saturday, January 9, 2021.
On Thursday, Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph joined five other police officers in isolation after they tested positive for COVID-19.
St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday confirmed fifty-five (55) new COVID-I9 cases. (3) cases are non-nationals who arrived on the island between December 31, 2020, and January 2021 with negative PCR test results and subsequently tested positive during the quarantine.
Fifty-two (52) of the new cases are nationals without recent travel history, bringing the total number of local cases under investigation to eighty (8O).