Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has criticised persons whom he said were using the coronavirus as a means to “create panic, fear and distrust” among the population as he commended China for taking actions aimed at halting the spread of the virus that has so far killed more than 500 people in the Asian country.
Mitchell, speaking during Friday evening’s military parade and rally to mark the island’s 46th anniversary of political independence from Britain, said that virus has shown that occurrences in one part of the world have unavoidable implications for other parts.
“By making irresponsible statements that have implications for the health of the nation’s people, these persons are playing on the emotions of a population.”— Mitchell
“This is evidenced through the impact of climate change and emerging health threats such as the one we face today with the outbreak of coronavirus. With the rapid escalation of infected persons and the geographic spread of those affected, this has become a global health emergency,” he said.
Mitchell said that while Grenada has “taken decisive action” to help prevent the virus from penetrating the island’s borders, it was also working in collaboration with the various organisations such as the World Health Organisation, Pan American Health Organisation (WHO/PAHO) and Trinidad-based the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Mitchell said he also wanted to commend China for the actions being taken to address the situation saying “as the outbreak has become a global concern, it is important that we all work closely together to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”
While he did not identify any particular person or organisation, Mitchell said that “it is therefore alarming and nothing short of mischievous that elements among us, some of whom we expect to demonstrate a greater level of responsibility, are using the situation to create panic, fear and distrust among our people.”
“By making irresponsible statements that have implications for the health of the nation’s people, these persons are playing on the emotions of a population that is already concerned about their own vulnerability. They are arbitrarily fuelling fears about our own mortality, and you are creating unnecessary doubt where there should be absolute clarity,” he added.
He said that these are not the actions of nation-builders, but the actions of persons who seek to cultivate division where there should be unity and mistrust where there should confidence.