“[…] Sisters, I urge you to make the right choice and ensure that all our eligible children are vaccinated, so that they can carry those school bags into their schools again.
“Just as we carried them as babes in arms to get their first vaccinations, let us now ensure that we hold their hands and take them now…”
The following appeal to the women of Trinidad and Tobago to vaccinate their households was submitted to Wired868 by the PNM National Women’s League chair Camille Robinson-Regis:
My sisters in the national community, the novel coronavirus and the ensuing pandemic have overturned many of our traditional ways of thinking and behaving. So much so that nothing is normal anymore, and no one knows with any certainty what the ‘new normal’ would look like.
As we recently celebrated the 59th anniversary of our country’s independence, I believe it is an opportune time to reflect not only on the choices we made in the past that have led us to today, but the choices we make today that could lead us to a brighter tomorrow.
No decision today is more important that the one to be vaccinated, as it is upon that singular, solitary decision that we can even begin to imagine what a new tomorrow would look like.
With the greatest of respect to our men, our husbands and partners, as women, we are the ones who, more than anyone else, possess the hands that rock the cradles of this world. We are the ones who spend nights upon nights praying for our children’s safety.
We are the ones who, when they must be hospitalised, spend nights sleeping uncomfortably on chairs and benches—so ours could be the first faces they see when they awake. We, more than anyone else, are the ones who attend the PTA meetings and other conferences with the teachers.
I know of no mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister in the Women’s League or in our beloved country who will not willingly make the ultimate sacrifice to secure the life and limb of their child, grandchild, niece, nephew or sibling.
Today, we have the opportunity, facilitated by our government, to ensure that we provide those whom we love with one extra layer of protection against an invisible enemy: the novel coronavirus. Our government has acquired sufficient quantities of vaccines to inoculate all our children between the ages of 12 to 18.
When our founding father Dr Eric Williams of blessed memory told our nation’s youth that the future of this country was in their school bags, he certainly did not envision a future of empty schools because of an insidious foe.
Sisters, I urge you to make the right choice and ensure that all our eligible children are vaccinated, so that they can carry those school bags into their schools again. Just as we carried them as babes in arms to get their first vaccinations, let us now ensure that we hold their hands and take them now.
Certainly, if you have any doubts, I would be the first to tell you to speak to a health practitioner, someone who is adequately qualified to render a decision based on authentic scientific data. I urge you, however, to studiously ignore the un-matriculated experts who dance to the tune of their pipers.
Today, we need to defend our country against a rampaging virus that does not discriminate against race, political affiliation, age, gender, religion, or any of the biological accidents that divide us. This is our time to rally every person, every constituency, in every nook and cranny in which we find ourselves, to bring out those who have not yet been vaccinated and convince them of the need to save their own lives and protect those whom they love so dearly.
I call on all women from every strata of society to step forward to defend our country.
Dr Williams told us: ‘whatever the challenge that faces you, from whatever quarter, place always first that national interest and the national cause’.
Our national watchwords, Discipline, Tolerance and Production, must resonate from every fibre of our being. Let us be disciplined in our actions, tolerant of each other and productive in our work ethic.
As Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said to us: ‘We will meet our challenges and we the people will survive and prosper, with, as our anthem tells us, boundless faith in our destiny.’
Sisters, I end with my favourite quote from the icon Pat Bishop: ‘Until all have crossed, none have crossed, and some we have to carry.’ Let us carry our loved ones.
Let us vaccinate to operate. Let us vaccinate to educate. Let us vaccinate to live.