By Caribbean News Global contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – While St Kitts and Nevis’ prime minister Dr Timothy Harris and his three-party coalition government rejected a donation of 2,500 COVID-19 rapid test kits from the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), his colleagues from Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines have welcomed similar kits donated by Venezuela and manufactured by the same Chinese company.
“Wow, Venezuela donating stuff even in their position of dire need? May God bless and cause his grace to shine upon them. Thank you comrades,” said Julyn Charles, from St George’s, Grenada.
“In times of difficulty and aggression, cooperation and solidarity among ALBA countries remain intact,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted.
Dr Terrance Drew, a local medical internist and chairman of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) on March 26, presented the first 19 of 2,500, coronavirus test kits to the government of St Kitts and Nevis.
The government rejected the kits manufactured by Wondfo, one of the earliest high-tech companies on rapid diagnostics in China and their anti-body test kits for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.
“Unfortunately the ministry of health cannot act on that donation because these test kits are written in Mandarin Chinese. The box is also in Chinese. We have no way of verifying the efficacy of the test that can be done. So, for the time being, we have basically, shelved the donation,” St Kitts and Nevis minister of state with responsibility for health, Senator Wendy Phipps told the media.
In welcoming similar rapid kits, St Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Ralph Gonsalves said: “On this Good Friday 2020, our nation was blessed to receive 3,000 raid testing kits, to test for COVID-19, from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This would improve the ability of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to do in-country testing. We must thank the gracious government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their generosity in this challenging time as we fight together to contain the spread of COVID-19.”
“We don’t have the PCR equipment as yet. Many pieces of our PCR equipment have been held in ‘the great’ US for one reason or another,” Gonsalves explained. “We do not have any control of the supply chain.”
Prime minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell in welcoming the similar rapid test kits said: “The government and people of Grenada are deeply appreciative of the donation made by the government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Even as they experience their own challenges, they have made a timely donation of test kits to be used in our fight against COVID-19. Thank you for your commitment to ensuring that the good relations between our two countries continue, even in the midst of this global pandemic.”
In India, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, K Shanmugam said on Saturday that there is a delay in receiving the rapid test kits ordered from China since the consignment meant for India was sent to the United States of America.