BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, January 2, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — As the country celebrates the New Year, 2022, which brings with it new things and new expectations, Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris is advising that the Covid-19 pandemic is still around and that people have to be smart in dealing with it.
“This is a brand-new year with new things and new expectations but most importantly we would want to ensure that our people and our nation continue to feel God’s mercy, God’s protection, and that our country will be even more prosperous in 2022 than it was in 2021,” pledged the Honourable Prime Minister.
Dr Harris, who is also the Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Seven, made the remarks on Sunday January 2, 2022, at the Ebenezer (Estridge) Moravian Church in Mansion, in his constituency, where he had joined the leadership and membership of the church for morning worship on the second Sunday after Christmas. Delivering the sermon was Rev Adlyn Mgonela.
He noted that people will enter the New Year with some challenges, the most significant challenge facing them being the Covid-19 pandemic and how it will impact upon lives and livelihoods.
“Already we see from the data early this year that as is happening in the USA, as is happening in Europe, as is happening in the United Kingdom, the Covid-19 pandemic is still here, and will be with us for some time to come,” he pointed out. “And so, we have to be smart in dealing with it. We can’t outsmart it for certainly it is outsmarting us.”
The congregation was reminded by the Prime Minister that on Saturday January 1, 2022, 150 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded noting that it was the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. That was in spite of a very high vaccination rate and that the Federation has one of the best coverages in the world.
“Enough of us are not doing the right thing, and we are dropping our guard and making ourselves, our children, our elderly, our loved ones vulnerable,” lamented Dr Harris. “We want to remind us that it is not over, and it will not be over for some time yet.”
He encouraged anyone who knows someone who is not vaccinated and is of age to encourage them to be vaccinated, and those who are fully vaccinated to take their booster shots. Importantly, he said that in addition to vaccination, persons should still abide by the non-pharmaceutical measures of wearing of masks, seeking frequent washing of hands and surfaces that are in regular contact as that would help.
“Beyond that we are hoping for an even more successful year – we are hoping for more jobs for our young people and those who are willing to work,” said the Honourable Prime Minister. “We are hoping that our young people would be able to get back in the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. And because they have been vaccinated, and because more of the teachers have been vaccinated, the school environment can be less disruptive.”
He added: “We do not want to go through another academic year with our children being dispersed – with our children being unable to have in-classroom learning. Again, the research has revealed that the most effective form of instruction is still in-classroom learning.”
Dr Harris was accompanied by Ambassador His Excellency Michael Powell, National Chairman of the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) Mr Warren Thompson, PLP’s Assistant National Treasurer Mrs Patrice Ofre, members of PLP Constituency Number Seven Women Group, and representatives from PLP branch executives, National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator Dr Matthias Afortu-Ofre, and Medical Practitioner Dr Dail Crawford.
“I want to thank all of you who have come out today from the constituency and from beyond – all of you have come this morning to show solidarity and support,” said the Prime Minister in his conclusion. “May God continue to bless us, and may our church continue to be strong, full of energy and vitality, loving and caring, and welcoming to all of us who need a reminder from time to time that there is still a loving and merciful God and the God in the valley, will be our God on the mountain. May God bless us all.”