Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has praised Venezuela for donating rapid test kits for COVID-19 to St. Vincent and the Grenadines amidst its tough economic situation.
On Friday, Caracas donated to Kingstown 3,000 rapid test kits and a quantity of reagents for the PCR test for the novel coronavirus.
Gonsalves, speaking at a ceremony at Argyle International Airport where the items landed, said that Venezuela had made the donation even as “in some countries there is a level of banditry in the seizure of vital material” for use in the fight against the deadly disease.
“Today is another magnificent day in the relations between governments and peoples of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.
He was speaking with charge d’affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy in Kingstown, Francisco M. Perez Santana, at his left side, and SVG’s Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne at his left.
Gonsalves described the kits as “very important gifts”, adding that the aircraft that delivered the items was making similar deliveries in Dominica, Grenada and Antigua, all of which are also members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America ALBA (ALBA).
“You know we do not have the PCR equipment as yet. You know many pieces of equipment have been held up in the great United States of America for one reason or another. But I expect that we will get the PCR soonest.
“We have no direct control over the supply chain and all mediating or intermediating forces in the normal supply chain — any novel mediating or intermediating forces in the chain which supplying for the novel coronavirus 2019,” Gonsalves said.
While several countries have reported that the United States has seized equipment they had acquired for the fight against COVID-19, SVG has made no such complaint.
Gonsalves said that his health officials had informed him that the kits for the rapid test are “particularly helpful and have a very high accuracy level towards the terminal stages of the 14-day quarantine period for a persons either who have been tested positive or those who are asymptomatic”.
“There may well be other period of time when they are tested when you can use them for the accuracy of the results but I was told that that is the best period toward the terminal period of the 14-day quarantine.”
The prime minister sad he did not want to “introduce any discordant sound of a political nature in this matter because today is a joyful day and I don’t want us to encumber our joy with this by saying anything untoward.
“But we read the newspapers, we read the reports, in some countries there is a level of banditry in the seizure of vital material that civilised peoples are looking on with sorry and some in anger at this level of banditry. But I only mention that, in a sense, as a footnote. What we have to celebrate is the solidarity.”
He said he wanted to point out that Venezuela is in a very difficult economic position.
“Venezuela is in a political situation with threats to its independence and sovereignty where there are forces in our hemisphere threatening regime change and seeking to undermine lawful0 authority in Venezuela, creating the circumstances or facilitating a condition for social and political unrest.
“Venezuela has its own challenges with COVID-19, they have been able to acquire a certain number of the rapid tests, these kits, and also the reagents and instead of keeping all for themselves, they are sharing with us and Dominica and Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda. I think this is wonderful,” Gonsalves said.