Regional analysts chime in on Caribbean pandemic management coordinated by the Media Institute of the Caribbean

The Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC) has engaged several outstanding Caribbean thought-leaders to examine key aspects of pandemic management interventions in the region.

Authoritative analyses offered by economists/social scientists Marla Dukharan, Dr Terrence Farrell and Kairi Consultants headed by Dr Ralph Henry are currently available on the COVID-19 Relief Monitoring Hub accessible on the MIC website (https://www.mediainstituteofthecaribbean.com/covid-relief-monitoring-hub).

In her contribution, Dukharan examines government accountability in pandemic relief funding. She does so through a discussion of the role of public trust in the processes introduced to address the pandemic together with the challenges to the required fiscal space.

She calls for “a higher level of transparency around pandemic-related funds received and perhaps more importantly, pandemic-related spending across the region.”

Dr Farrell looks at the responses of the private sector to pandemic management in the region. He advocates a “whole-of-society” approach not limited to consultation.

Such an approach, he argues, includes providing guidance, communication, and coordination of plans so that key services can continue to be delivered.

He however advises that this dynamic, while needed, does not “derogate from a government’s leadership of the management of a crisis.”

The submission by Kairi Consultants focuses on what the team considers to be a “poverty mega shock” occasioned by pandemic conditions. It argues that no section of Caribbean society has been immune to negative fallout from the pandemic.

This analysis goes on to propose that poverty reduction is about “sustainability in the fullest meaning of that word in the context of economic, social, environmental and technological change.”

The livelihood agenda, this submission suggests, “has to include all of these issues, which extend much beyond the recovery of the Caribbean economy to the pre-COVID-19 mode.”

The contributions of these three leading analysts are accompanied by updates on pandemic management issues in 16 Caribbean territories. The reports focus heavily on attempts by governments to manage vaccination programmes against the backdrop of uneven supplies, administrative obstacles and issues of vaccine hesitancy and resistance.

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