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Businesses need to get on board the covid fight – SVBL country manager

Businesses need to get on board the covid fight – SVBL country manager
Shafia London, Country Manager of St Vincent Brewery limited

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CORPORATE ENTITIES ARE being asked to come to the aid of governments in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Shafia London, country manager at the St Vincent Brewery Limited (SVBL) said on Monday that the world is at a point where business sectors are collapsing, some have collapsed and others have been severely affected by COVID-19.

London was speaking from Barbados via a teleconference held at Victoria Park where the SVBL handed over EC$100,000 worth of medical equipment to the Ministry of Health.

The SVBL head said that while businesses are suffering, our focus cannot primarily reside in this area alone as we are being reminded regularly that human lives are being affected and, in some instances, lost, because of the virus.

“Realities like these remind me of my frailty as a human being, and furthermore, as a mother.

“When we can align our humanity with co-operation in order to bridge the gap between our world and yours, we are following a true path of social commitment and acknowledgement that there is no you, if there is no us, and there is no us if there is no you,” London said.

She noted that while the SVBL is traditionally involved in the sponsoring of sports, arts, culture and education, they also use part of their profit to give back to communities and support peripheral economies that work hand in hand with their corporate objectives and targets.

The SVBL manager stressed that as big as some persons consider the brewery to be, it is also as small as the shops dotted across the island that distribute and sell their products.

“This has been the catalyst for the decision to expand into support the medical fields through this donation. I must stress on the term donation, because the nature of our intent is to provide and not receive. It serves as a means to enlighten and bring to the forefront the need for more corporations to rise to the same challenge,” London said.

Handed over to the Ministry of Health were 1000 rapid response antigen kits (Abbott Brand), 500 N95 masks and 500 blue disposable gowns.

“On behalf of every person on the SVBL team, I say this, we need to help each other now,” the manager further noted while adding that the items are to be directly used by the

country’s first responders to maintain the current pace of detection, isolation, and quarantine, and general support for those affected by the virus.

“COVID 19 has been at war with our way of life, and at the same time our livelihoods. Never in the history of SVBL has there been a minuted item in a stakeholders meeting or AGM saying ‘lives saved’, which is a reality for all our private corporate brothers and sisters across the country,” London further stressed.

She said that donations like the one made by the SVBL help to save lives and the money spent is worth it.

“…hardly a figure to consider in comparison to protect and save lives,” the SVBL head told the persons gathered at the handing over which included Minister of Health St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Cuthbert Knights, and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache.

London noted that she is empathetic with local health professionals and the SVBL is supporting the medical fraternity.

“ As formal as this is, humanity requires no formality. We are praying these items alleviate some of your current pressures and also open a door for unwavering solidarity towards protecting life and saving our livelihoods,” London said addressing the CMO directly.

“This pandemic is pressing on with disastrous effects on world economies, including ours right here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We have seen our medical services stressed to the point of deadlock,” London further commented while thanking medical personnel for their continued professionalism.