By Theresa Goodwin
As government is forced to divert finances to strengthen the country’s defence against the Covid-19 pandemic, a local non-profit organisation is appealing to the public to step in and help.
The Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee (LTHMC) is calling on local residents and corporations to donate essential items such as disinfectants, paper towels and rubbing alcohol to assist the Cuban brigade on island helping stem the spread.
LTHMC chairman Lawrence Jardine told Observer that the appeal was in gratitude to Cuba’s dedication to helping Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the region.
He said that for over 40 years Cuba has shared its limited resources with the nation.
He said the committee has also established strong ties with the government and people of Cuba.
“The Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee is an offshoot of the ACLM [Afro Caribbean Liberation Movement] which was established after the passing of Leonard Tim Hector. Back in the 1980s, Leonard Tim Hector established links with Cuba and the then leader Fidel Castro and was able to secure scholarships.
“As a result of this, we feel that we have a connection, a friendship and also a revolutionary spirit with the people and government of Cuba. We feel at this point it is time we should reciprocate and assist the government to provide whatever is required for the health and safety of the Cuban brigade and the nurses and doctors who are here to assist us,” Jardine said.
He stated further that all healthcare workers are risking their lives to save people from the virus, and residents should, in turn, reciprocate by making sure they are comfortable, respected and appreciated.
In late March, Antigua and Barbuda welcomed 27 nurses and two specialist doctors from Cuba to supplement the local workforce.
Those professionals were placed under quarantine for 14 days which came to an end last week.
Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lionel “Max” Hurst, said some will be deployed at Mount St John’s Medical Centre. Others will be dispatched to the National Technical Training Centre and the Margetson Ward. Both facilities are being refurbished to serve as additional treatment centres for Covid-19 patients.
People wishing to donate to the LTHMC campaign can do so by contacting Jardine at 770-6955, Luther Lee at 727-0300, or Conrad Luke at 727-6595.