You know, I’ve done my PCR test. This is the fourth test that I’m doing in just about a week. But it’s all happening so quickly, so seamlessly. And, you know, the results are quick. And so it allows us to be able to say, yes, tourism and travel.
Minangka members of UNWTO my message is very clear. The world must work together. We cannot have different countries or different regions doing different things. It’s an important message for Jamaica. Indeed.
In fact, it is a message that has to resonate with all. And it begs some questions. One of it is how do we achieve this?
That’s the big one. And achieving it is by collaborating and achieving it is by not leaving anybody behind.
So it brings a level of equity and the whole matter of arranging the tools that are necessary to better sanitary tools.
How can we make sure that the small countries that are highly dependent, fewer resource countries who are critical in all of this and in fact they are the real source of the experiences, how do we make sure that they are not left behind?
In this whole vaccine diplomacy and vaccine politics, nationalism is taking the front seat.
And let’s talk about how do we really collaborate?
We’re seeing that one point seven million doses of the vaccine have so far been given to the world.
That’s five-point one percent of the world. But that doesn’t tell the real story.
The real story is that less than one percent of the countries of the world have had a second dose at the level of 30 percent or more.
It also tells another story that three countries have literally cornered the majority of that. And in one case, one hundred and thirty-one million people have had a second dose, while there are 60 countries that are still needed just one first dose
So these are real issues. We are not starting together and we are not going to recover in an equitable way. But if we don’t, it is going to spell danger and it is going to cause a humanitarian tragedy that is probably worse than the pandemic.
And it is a big point that we need to understand. I think tourism has a strong voice and we must make that voice hear. Without this, the recovery cannot be meaningful. It will be an illusion, as Bob Marley said. Something pursued but never attained unless there’s equity and unless the big boys who have the resources are able to enable the smaller guys who have no resources to be willing to be helpful.
Reporter: Very good point. Minister, one last question. Can you tell us about what’s happening at the moment in terms of recovery, tourism, vaccination in your own country and the broader Caribbean region?
Hon. E Bartlett: Well, in my own country, we have been working very hard and following the protocols, comporting with the key protocols, you know, social distancing, wearing a mask and all the touchless technology
In fact, the vector is a human being. So we’ve been using the quarantine, the lockdown, so to speak, as they call it. And we are also looking at closing the borders here, opening borders there to countries.
The good news, however, is that we has open our borders.
We’ve had variations in terms of how the numbers go because we manage by science and data. And as those numbers and signs improve, then we also relax our restrictions.
But since then we’ve had just a little over four hundred thousand visitors, about 30, 40 percent of what we normally do.
However, we are growing and that’s good. But there’s a second and important part where the collaboration is concerned, and that’s for the region, the Caribbean region.
And we’re working now with the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, five of us, and creating a Caribbean passport arrangement that allows for multi-destination tourism.
But it also is going to create an opportunity for visitors, particularly those of the long haul destinations coming into our space can have multiple destination experiences with a package that offers a simple price.
And an opportunity to move from one country to the other seamlessly to enjoy touristic endeavors. So this is important because what we’re doing, is saying that we can converge.
Our interests, we could put aside our competitiveness and we can collaborate and
The World could engage in copetition rather than competition.
I think that will be a big part of the whole recovery program. The world needs to look at that and we will be able then to find a common way.
And we need these common tools. But the equity that must give us the common tools has to be there because there is no way I can ask for a single passport for a country that has no vaccination.
From a country that doesn’t understand how to even deal with the basics of health because they don’t have the resources, so we have to work together and those who have it must be able to pass on.
The last thing I want to say is the whole business of pretense and the liberalization of manufacturing rights to a larger number of countries so that more of the vaccine can be manufactured by a wider group of competent and qualified technologically capable and efficient manufacturing entities.
And so we have to make our voice heard and that we have to call for this liberalization so that the patents cannot be stopped into one country.
But the use of it can be available in many other countries where manufacturing capabilities exist and that we will have far more vaccines available in far more countries in a shorter time.