Mon | Jul 26, 2021

Missing an opportunity

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:08 AM


The fact that US President Joe Biden is a devout Catholic, who attends mass weekly, is common knowledge to most. He is probably even more devout than the last practising Catholic US President, John F. Kennedy, who had a deep love and affection for Jamaica and its people.

Not that anyone in the Jamaican Government is asking for my advice or assistance, but I will offer up a perspective and a suggestion that might influence President Biden to offer COVID-19 vaccine assistance to the CARICOM region.

Right now, the progressive Democrats are lobbying the White House to get more vaccines to lesser-developed countries. My old friend from the House Ways & Means Committee, Katherine Tai, who is now the US trade representative, has opened a dialogue with the vaccine manufacturers to loosen their patent restrictions and permit generics to be made on a broader basis.

In a previous letter, I suggested that the vaccines could be manufactured by existing facilities in Puerto Rico and shipped throughout the CARICOM region.

With respect to opening up the patents, Pope Francis is for, and Bill Gates is against. So my suggestion is quite simple and direct: Catholic Archbishop Richards and his colleagues throughout the Caribbean region should send a joint letter to President Biden pleading to his humanitarian side.

It can’t hurt, and it just might tilt matters in Jamaica’s favour. Good luck! Stay safe, and mask up!