The Caribbean’s Remarkable Response to COVID-19

The Caribbean has been commended globally by the World Health Organisation (WHO), CNN and BBC for its outstanding handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. How did the Caribbean do it? As with everything, it begins with leadership. At the helm was a woman who led with distinction.  The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Prime Minister of Barbados, was proactive and impressive in her harnessing of the region’s technical expertise and resources to the region’s benefit as well as Barbados. This resulted in effective and timely communication buttressed by carefully crafted messages from reliable sources to the populations of the region.

The region’s containment of this unrelenting virus is due in large measure to the effective teamwork of our agencies and their expert staff. CARICOM, PANCAP, PAHO, CARPHA, CMLF all executed an excellent containment strategy. Their sterling efforts, combined with a poised approach by all of these tireless teams is nothing short of exemplary. Kudos to ALL concerned for sharing the critical information responsibly to save many lives and so avoid overwhelming our health care systems that proved to be more efficient and organised to cope with this pandemic than many larger more powerful nations.

This is not new to the region. The Caribbean and its resilient people have a track record of leading the world in their response to epidemics and pandemics: The Caribbean was the first area of the world to eliminate polio and measles; Cuba became the first country in the world to achieve the elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis and on World AIDS Day 1 December 2017, six Caribbean territories and states joined Cuba in that achievement.

Our leaders, medical professionals at all levels, labs and all frontline workers, have acted decisively, worked unselfishly and helped keep us safe across the Caribbean.

We salute you and thank you!

Biography – Senator The Honourable Mary Isella Isaac

Senator Isaac was born in Saint Lucia and holds Undergraduate Degrees (First Class) in Business Administration and Education and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

Senator Isaac has spent most of her career in the civil service. Her last posting being that of Chief Complaints and Investigation Officer, Department of Consumer Affairs, Saint Lucia (2002 – 2013).

From 2009 – 2015 she served as President of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA). She is also a former President of the Caribbean Consumer Council (CCC).

In 2015, Senator Isaac replaced Lenard Montoute, as an opposition Senator for the United Workers Party (UWP) in the Upper House of the Saint Lucia Parliament.

On 14 June 2016, she was appointed a Government Senator and Minister of Health and Wellness, following the success of the UWP at the 6 June 2016 general elections. Senator Isaac is also the Chair of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Regional Coordinating Mechanism (OECS RCM) for Global Fund projects and served as the Chair of the PANCAP Executive Board and Regional Coordinating Mechanism during the period June to September 2016.