Two persons have so far been arrested and charged as the probe into allegations of forged COVID-19 vaccination certificates continues.
According to well-placed sources, Jeffton Lewis – an employee at the Argyle International Airport and Gabriel Hutchins – a longstanding chef at one Grenadines based villa, are facing charges of supposedly “making a false instrument.”
Several copies of these fake COVID-19 vaccine certificates, we were told, have already been tendered to unsuspecting employers across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Last month, an online publication reported that the forged COVID vax certificates were being sold locally for between $250 and $1500. The article further noted local police commissioner – Colin John – as having “gave the confirmation that two cases of the doubted COVID-19 vaccination certificate are under investigation by police.”
Late Tuesday evening CoP John confirmed that “two persons were in custody” though he was unable to say at that time whether the charges were in fact effected since he was otherwise engaged.
Meanwhile Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, SVG’s Chief Medical Officer noted, “I am relieved that the police have made progress in this case… the validation of existing cards is ongoing”, she said, as health authorities work “to replace the original ones.”
This new wrinkle in the local COVID-19 management strategy, some say, is being caused by the “pressures being brought to bear” as local authorities attempt to incentivize the largely COVID-vax reluctant Vincentian population.
Locally state employees must present proof of their full COVID-19 inoculation or get tested at least once per two weeks. In some cases these employees are also expected to cover associated testing fees.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are currently provided free of cost to Vincentians, local government has had to pass along surplus quantities of the dosages to neighboring territories in order to prevent mass spoilage.
A very real concern is that day, in the not too distant future, when each COVID dosage must be paid for directly by inoculated citizens.