Antigua and Barbuda’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted the admiration of a Canadian diplomat. Words of commendation were made on Tuesday during a virtual farewell engagement between the outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Marie Legault and Foreign Affairs Minister, E. P. Chet Greene.
Ambassador Legault, who is wrapping up her tour of duty to the Eastern Caribbean this month, expressed admiration of the manner in which the Antigua and Barbuda government handled the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “Please convey to your prime minister, my personal admiration for the manner in which his government has managed and is managing during these tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Greene reported the diplomat as saying.
In response, Greene hailed Canada for its approach to diversity noting that the country, whose population is approximately 37 million, serves as an inspiration for societies worldwide. “Canada has an inclusive and respectful approach to diversity. This characteristic can be seen through Canada’s present day role as a multi-ethnic democracy which, I believe, serves as an inspiration to many other societies worldwide,” he stated.
He also noted the fact that many Antigua and Barbuda nationals have made Canada their home. Greene also expressed appreciation to Canada for its many years of assistance to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda and the involvement of the High Commissioner facilitating this.
Following the devastation of Barbuda by Hurricane Irma, Canada came to the country’s assistance and donated US$200,000.00 to help with rehabilitation efforts. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has donated US$239,000.00 to Antigua and Barbuda through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to help with the fight against the virus and its impact.
“Under your guidance, mobile Canadian Visa Biometric Collection Service teams have visited Antigua and Barbuda to facilitate biometric collection of nationals seeking entry into Canada, thus saving them the expenses involved in having to travel to have this done,” the Foreign Affairs minister noted. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had to find new ways of fulfilling its mandate of fostering ties with the nations with whom it shares common interests, including Canada.