FORMER PRIME MINISTER Sir James Mitchell, has proposed that EC$1million be allocated to offer incentives to persons to take a COVID-19 vaccine,while at the same time stimulating the economy.
Sir James, who has publicly expressed his support for vaccination against COVID-19 on many occasions, said on Sunday that the government can address vaccine hesitancy by using a “carrot” to attract up to 20,000 Vincentians to receive the jab.
“The government should allocate a fund of EC$1million to be administered by the Hotel Association, to all the hotels and restaurants to give a voucher for $50 to any person getting their first vaccine,” he said while speaking on WE FM’s ‘Issue at Hand’ programme.
“Don’t tell me the money can’t be found. All you need to do is prepare the project and get it to the relevant funding agency; the World Bank, the IMF or local resources. Surely there are individuals in Mustique who can come up with a million dollars.”
The former Prime Minister noted that those individuals may not wish to be publicly known but that the funds can be managed through the Mustique Company. He further expressed that there are individuals from Mustique who would want to make sure “that they help the tourist industry and help St Vincent out of this mess”.
Sir James has expressed belief that vaccination is a sure way of getting the country’s economy back on track.
His proposal is in keeping with several incentive initiatives that have been implemented in countries across the world to increase the number of persons being vaccinated against the virus.
The former Prime Minister advised that the government should work out the modalities of how a possible initiative like this might work.
He said persons would get their first jab, receive certification of vaccination and collect the $50 to go to a hotel or restaurant of their choice.
“It could be tried…some might call it bribery but we’re not foreign to bribery in this country here anyway…” Sir James said.