Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves is calling for the reporting of facts as it pertains to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Gonsalves who was speaking on NBC Radio this morning said that a Trinidad Guardian reporter called him regarding the story that there were 29 Vincentians who tested positive for the rapid testing from the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas.
He explained, “I know Faine Richards because she had called me. In fact I has specifically said to her don’t demonize St. Vincent…don’t demonize the cruise ships you know?”
Dr. Gonsalves noted about the Vincentian seafarers, “They are on the rapid test and the rapid test, test the antibodies to show; not that you have it now to transmit it. But that you were in touch sometime, you were sometime exposed to COVID-19. They must not demonize the cruise ships nor must they do anything which is scaremongering. They must not panic.”
The Vincentian Prime Minister further stated that they have had experienced persons who tested positive on the rapid test, but on the Polymerase Chain Reactor, PCR they tested negative.
He expounded, “Of course they would have to do two negatives on the PCR in order to come out of the quarantine or isolation or wherever they are put. I haven’t seen the article in the (T&T) Guardian. Yesterday evening Fiane Richards spoke to me, I don’t know about Kevin (Flemine)…she may have spoken to other persons too.”
Dr. Gonsalves opined that the heightened interest out of Trinidad could be because the Vision of the Seas vessel would be sailing to Trinidad soon.
Speaking on the live radio broadcast as well as to the radio announcer, The Prime Miniter continued, “I hope it wasn’t a scaremongering story, so if you can print it for me to see. She assured me she wasn’t going to do a scaremongering. Because you know in Trinidad, what they have done, is that they are opening for the first time for them. So Trinidad will have an interest in this.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves pointed out that recently there was one positive PCR test out of 45 who Vision of the Seas took to Grenada.
He advised, “So speak the facts ehh…because that is the only way that we can have intelligent discussion. But when we speak the facts, you have to analyze the science of it. Now, what that is saying is that we must be careful. That even though they are at sea for a long time, when you are co-mingling by different groups coming in…you have to be careful.”
In reference to the protocol in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the Prime Minister noted, “You have to do the requisite tests. In our case, first we do the Rapid Response kit and we also do the PCR. But this is all part and parcel of the protocol which we have laid down. Which is the protocol that has been agreed upon by the Royal Caribbean Cruise line. So this is not something which is in a sense, sprung upon us with any surprise.”
The Prime Minister concluded and warned, “We are dealing with the epidemiological issue, of course if fear and alarm is created, it would be unfortunate because people have to follow the science. So what happen…because some have tested positive on the rapid…whey yo must do? Dump dem in de sea water, eh?”
Besides rapid testing, samples have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory in Trinidad of all 356 Vincentian cruise workers on board the Vision of the Seas for PCR testing for existence of the actual COVID-19 virus.
The vessel arrived the morning of Tuesday 26th May 2020, to repatriate the cruise workers at port Kingstown. The ship is expected to next venture to Trinidad to conduct a repatriate Trinidadian cruise workers.