Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says his government should have banned international flights during the Christmas season and should not have allowed the Nine Mornings festival, in an effort to prevent an escalation of the COVID-19 cases.

Over the holiday season, St. Vincent and the Grenadines continued to allow flights from COVID-19 hotspots, such as the United States and thousands of persons participated in Nine Mornings, a unique Vincentian festival.

And, since Dec. 28, hundreds of Vincentians with no recent travel history have tested positive or COVID-19, with the number now standing at 597 of the 738 cases recorded in the country.

“Of course, hindsight is always 2020 vision. Over the holidays, you should have banned the airlines, you should have [not] allowed any Nine Mornings to take place,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio on Wednesday.

“But we had just had elections where both political parties had thousands upon thousands of people at rallies,” he noted, speaking of the campaign for the Nov. 5 general elections.

“So the persons who would have been doing the Nine Mornings would have said you could have 15,000 persons at one rally but now you don’t want to have 400 or 500 at a Nine Morning event, or 200 or 100? And people came home with their families and we [saw] some of these gatherings,” the prime minister reasoned.

“You take, for instance, we banned Luke Boyea and Skinny Fabulous from having their big events, and other people, too. But that did not stop people using the Facebook for 20, 30, 40, people to say let’s gather by Tom Browne house and Tom Browne organised a party and many of those parties were organised across this country,” Gonsalves said. 

iWitness News understands that the cluster of cases in the Police Force emerged from a house party that several officers attended.

“We have, therefore, to have everybody buy into what we are doing. There are a lot of people involved in a lot of sophistry and petty fogging discussion. A lot of it is laced with political nonsense. Even take things which I have said before out of context and debating and arguing.”

Gonsalves was speaking two days after he announced two holidays, this weekend, which he pitched as an opportunity for Vincentians to rejuvenate in light of the stresses brought on by the pandemic and the on-going effusive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.

However, many Vincentians immediately concluded that the holidays were a veritable lockdown, aimed at restricting the movement of persons.

The prime minister encouraged residents not to go to beaches and have picnics and other celebratory events that generally take place on holidays in the country.

And, while no specific laws had been passed restricting movement or banning certain types of activities over the holiday weekend, the police issued a statement on Thursday saying they would be taking steps to enforce the COVID-19 protocols, which are largely Ministry of Health recommendations.

In his comments, Gonsalves noted that up to Dec. 27, the country had just about 110 cases of COVID-19, most of which were imported or import-related.

“There was a spiral thereafter,” he said, adding that the reasons for this “are straightforward.

The prime minister said health authorities had suggested to him credible reasons for the spike in cases.

“The first one is the recurrent breach of the quarantine by several people — lot’s of people. Secondly, over the festive season, you had a lot more people coming in than before — people come to see their families and so on. Thirdly, there were a number of social gatherings, including family gatherings of various sizes, and, fourthly, there has been until recently, a general non-adherence to the COVID protocols put forward by the Health Service Sub-Committee of NEMO.  Taken together, we have this spiral,” Gonsalves.

“And they can’t be taken single. They have to be taken together,” he further stated. 

“In short, we have to analyse properly and see what is the best thing which we can do. We have been doing it    quite well and then those four factors which I just mentioned in a composite way allowed it to get out of hand,” the prime minister said. 

19 replies on “SVG should’ve banned int’l flights in response to COVID – PM”

  1. Kendol Gibson says:

    Need the money!
    Knowing the fact these high risk countries but ye allow them to enter SVG without proper checks an balance in place was reckless and morso a poor judgement and effective leadership!
    You reap what you planted!

  2. And even the long weekend with families home together some with asymtomatic Covid WILL pass it on to other members because I dont think they are wearing mask in their homes. The country was not fully prepared knowledge wise about how to manage an airborne communicable disease.

  3. Crying over split milk won’t cut it, Prime Minister.

    You had countless examples from many countries around the world, including America, that closed their doors to international travel from hot spots months before the spike began here three weeks ago but lacked the foresight to apply them to our previous country.

    “Of course, hindsight is always 2020 vision,” but you did not need our own hindsight to tell you months ago that we were in grave danger if we kept our borders open when you were shown all the hindsight you would ever need in international media like CNN since early last year but deliberately chose to ignore it for lack of any vision.

    “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

    1. You must have CNNitis. CNN is proven to be a FAKE NEWS outlet. Worse than all the others. That is why a smart guy like you can still be misinformed about the real world.

  4. Ralph you have to do what is best for the people of St.vincent and the Grenadines.
    Some people are going to say all kinds of negative things when you do the correct thing, but the reality is no one wants to get Covid, or to die, but they won’t adhere to the measures put in place.
    I’m a vincentian living in Trinidad, and the government have measures in place to protect all of the citizens of the country.
    Some people find that the measures implemented are harsh, but the government had to do it because its the same thing some people just wasn’t adhering to the measures.
    In Trinidad our borders are closed to tourists.
    It’s limited people in a church.
    Bars can sell alcohol, but buy and go no liming inside the bar.
    Restaurants only a certain amount people allowed to dine at a time, no alcohol is to be served while dining.
    Rivers remain closed.
    Beaches are open, but you have to wear your mask except when going into the water.
    No social gatherings at all
    No public parties.
    Once you leave your house you have to wear your mask.
    If you’re driving with other people in your vehicle everyone must wear a mask.
    Business places sanitize or wash hands before entering, and you must be wearing your mask, if you don’t do these things you can not enter the business place.
    All businesses have to provide either a sink with running water and hand soap, or hand sanitizer for the customers. Most of them are also taking your temperature when you enter too.
    Also all the measures that are in place, carry a fine if anyone breeches them.
    And yes while some don’t like it, it’s what is best for the people of the country.
    We had a few cases, but the government did the right thing.

  5. Here is Trump trying to place the blame right, left and center when the BUCK stop at Ralph door. He had the opportunity to ban incoming flights months ago, but he needed his oversea supporters to come into the country for the election. They did and many may have brought the virus with them. Now it’s payback time. You also allowed people to enter, so hotels can make money.
    No Ralph, that was dumb! You messed with Vincentians lives and now they are paying for it. One other source for the virus could have been the BARREL syndrome. The virus could have been right under the items in those barrels. Those items could have been handled by people with the virus.

  6. I cannot believe that anyone thinks they are going to keep Covid out of their country,(vaccine or no vaccine). Although SVG is still back in March 2020 when it comes to information about the virus, (we are still sanitizing hands, although that is not how the virus is transmitted). It is only a matter of time before most everyone has been exposed to the virus, no matter what measures are taken. Although 99.8% of those that contract the virus, make a full recovery, we are still wetting our pants in fear. Cancer, Heart Disease, TB Hepatitis are all far more deadly but we do not fear those because we are not made to fear them. Since the virus came out, far more people have died in car accidents. Maybe we should all be locked-down afraid of cars.

    With this pronouncement from the PM it is highly likely we will have more testing and that means more cases reported, that means more people with wet pants, and that may lead to lock downs and travel bans (except for the rich and influential).
    Leaders are all going to be pressured to make their people get vaccines, (to get Global bank loans). Most vaccines are tied to Bill Gates, including the viral vector Astra Zeneca, or is the 750-800 Million Dollar investment from Bill just because he is a nice guy?

  7. Sounds like the lock downs and travel bans are on the way. As the super rich and their banker knew, even in SVG, those with wet pants have won the Prime Minister over; same as what is happening in the Netherlands, notwithstanding the informed people rioting in the streets. Politicians cannot resist the “FREE” Covid relief funds. “We” asked for the lock downs and travel bans! Be careful what you ask for because you may just get it. We wanted Trump gone. Now,something FAR WORSE is coming, “The Great Reset” is on the agenda. The global “money-printing machines” are now working full speed. We wished for it!

    Joe Biden and his party have informed us that all are equal, but some are just more equal than others. Be happy with getting your liberty and rights taken away. They are keeping us safe. Ignore Ben Franklin when he said:
    “Those who would give up liberty for security will lose both AND DESERVE NEITHER”.

  8. You are the smart one,a world class boss and a mister know it all.Even a mad man would of banned all int’l flights from the covid19 hotspots.Now you see Mr WORLD CLASS BOSS you are facing a backlash,you are responsible for this that is spiraling out of control, heaven help up now.You knew that ONE OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A WHOLE POUND OF CURE but you turned a blind eye.Let me see how you are going to get out of this one.The opposition was warning you,you should of listened.

  9. Arhhh well like yo catching up self the first time I giving you a tick yes I agree with u on that yes and ahh saying so publicly too yes you should have two heads always better than one it doesn’t matter how much paper qualifications one has it mean nothing to me common sense beat that to me yes I have heard and is encouraged by advice given all the time by people who never even go to primary school that really don’t mean they don’t have a brain so bravo first tick yo get from me!!!!!

  10. Concerned citizen says:

    I cannot believe with all that is happening globally relating to this virus, that I am actually reading this admission of failure to act in a timely manner.

  11. Time to close travel borders for at least four weeks and have strict monitored quarantine process to reduce the virus case load Put in evening or night time curfew. More needs to be done! New variants of the virus from Brazil, SA and UK more easier to catch. Don’t wait till people dropping like fly!

  12. For the P.M to actually admit that mistakes were made in the handling of the Covid concerns across the country suggest that the situation is now possibly spiraling out of control. I must say that I was rather shocked at what appears to be a very cavalier attitude towards dealing with the virus situation given the fragility of the healthcare system. It’s always a good idea to learn from other people’s mistakes rather than repeating the same action and getting the same results.
    We saw wealthier nations being stricken by the virus and shutting down their borders to try and curb the situation…yet we foolishly tried to cash in by allowing flights to come in.
    Now our poor island with limited resources must now try to deal with rising Covid cases, a rise in dengue and a restless volcano simultaneously. This is bound to cause social discontent.
    There need to be clear coordinated action involving both the opposition and government…all hands on deck. It’s the only way the virus will be reined in. I am a vincy living abroad but I am hoping that our government and people will take the virus wth the seriousness it deserves…foolish talk about conspiracies only creates confusion. Govt must swallow the bitter pill and take necessary steps. The community spread will get worse and absolutely no one is safe as long as it is in the communities.

  13. Ricardo Francis says:

    You have failed, neglected and or refused to post my comments.

    Please do not let Ralph, the Pharaoh Leader intimidate you!!!

    I am very fearless and courage.

    I shall and shall never surrender and waive my believes now and or in the future.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

  14. This admission by our current Prime Minister is quite remarkable.

    According to what I have read, SVG has the highest recorded figure for COVID – 19 cases to date.

    An absolute nightmarish time for all of us.

    We have a Cabinet/a body of persons who ought to have assessed this situation properly.
    What is even more remarkable is that this spike should never have happened. Yes the comments made especially “Jah lick dem wid disease” is probably one of the harshest that has ever been made in reference to our people.

    A genuine apology perhaps could be offered. Some call for the resignation of said Cabinet with NO PLAN OF ACTION TO TAKE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD> a crying shame.

    OTHERS WITH PLANS FOR ACTION ARE CALLING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE CABINET. Now that said … we are at this point in a situation that needs all hands on deck.

    It is the co-operation of our people everywhere and the networking of agencies (governmental and non-governmental) with one agenda on saving lives that will work.

    Once we navigate this with one agenda – the saving of the lives of our people – we will come out at the other end, a better people.

    Pray yes, and we should do so each and every day. However praying without ‘works’ will not produce effective results. We must continue to ACT now in the best interest of all.

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