BGIS:– Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes that the inequity and discrimination in countries have led to much of the vaccine hesitancy being seen across nations.
And, Ms. Mottley is of the view that the situation has been further fueled by the lack of trust of many citizens, who for a long time, have been left out of the “democratic deal” and “bounty that comes by being a citizen”.
The Prime Minister expressed these views on Thursday when she delivered remarks at the Virtual Summit on Democracy, hosted by the President of the United States of the America, Joseph Biden.
The Prime Minister told the audience that democracy must always be about people. “It is ironic, therefore, that this pandemic has laid bare much of what must concern us today – the inequity and the discrimination. Indeed, the lack of trust that is further fueled by fake news and the invisible hands that influence what we view in our virtual world.
“We must learn why we cannot continue to ignore inequity or fail to summon the will to eradicate poverty,” she said.
Ms. Mottley stated that the pandemic and climate crisis had underscored why the democratic ideals must also underpin relations in the international community, and why leaders must seek to have global public goods.
“This lack of vaccine equity continues to put us all at risk. The possibility of climate refugees undermines democracies, not only in the countries from which those refugees will come, but the neighbourhood within which those refugees will travel. We must equally be concerned about the lack of democratic ideals in the international institutions to which we belong,” she stated.
The Prime Minister noted that freedom of the press, freedom of elections, freedom of movement or freedom of association were not really issues in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“Our issue in this part of the region, I believe, is more encouraging active citizenship to support the architecture of our democracy, recognising that democracy comes in many shapes and forms….
“Our fight also relates to the elimination of corruption in high and low places. We must therefore have these conversations, and it is absolutely vital that we deconstruct and truly appreciate where our concerns are as small island developing states in the Caribbean, where we may strengthen what we are doing within our countries and across the global community of nations,” she said.
Ms. Mottley stated that Barbados was small in size, but had played a significant role in the promotion, preservation and protection of democracy and democratic traditions for several decades.