Chartered Accountant Stephen Joachim, while appearing on the Issue At Hand program, says a “carrot on a stick” approach needs to be taken to incentivize Vincentians to take the COVID vaccine.
“There needs to be a carrot on a stick approach. If you’re in Tourism, Grenada Government has announced basically that as far as they’re concerned, COVID vaccines are going to be mandatory in the Tourism sector, we are going to have to do something similar.” Joachim said.
Joachim stated that if SVG fails to get vaccination numbers up, there may be no hope for Virgin Atlantic to fly to the country.
“Virgin Atlantic was supposed to come here in June; Virgin Atlantic has postponed now, I believe until October, is what I heard. If we don’t get our vaccinations up, Virgin Atlantic is not coming to St. Vincent and the Grenadines because we’re either going to be on the amber or red list in Britain, and they’re not going to come.” He said.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told News784 on Tuesday, May 18, the following.
“We look forward to operating the first flights from Europe to St Vincent on Oct. 13, 2021, expecting it will be safe to do so”.
Mr. Joachim said that if SVG’s vaccination numbers remain low while others rise, it could potentially put the country at a severe disadvantage.
“Canada now has one of the highest vaccination rates globally, approximately fifty percent of their population so far, the United States is very similar. When they get their levels above a certain stage, you know what’s going to happen? They’re going to play hardball with the rest of us and say, “we’re not coming, or our citizens are not coming to your country and taking the risk of bringing back a new variant for us.” Are we prepared to understand the impact of that on our economy?”
Air Canada media relations told NEWS784 on Monday, May 25, that the airline is planning to resume service to St. Vincent on Sept. 13, 2021, with one weekly flight.