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Sir Louis sends message to Vincentian students in Mexico

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Acting Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker, has written to Vincentian students studying in Mexico, concerning the outbreak of swine flu there, and what specific action to take to ensure their safety. The text of the letter is as follows:{{more}}

Please accept my warmest greetings and my best wishes for your safety and wellbeing.

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in full recognition of the circumstances, wishes to give you its highest assurance, that it is doing everything within its power to ensure your continued safety and your eventual success in your studies in Mexico.

Currently, there are preparations locally to ensure that an adequate response strategy is available if there are any suspected or confirmed cases here.

Regionally, there is a coordinated effort to deal with what has surely evolved into a global security issue. Some countries have declared that they will deny entry to persons originating from ports that are known to be affected.

We recommend that you remain in Mexico and follow the advice as given by the Mexican authorities to avoid contaminating yourselves and to contact the relevant local authorities, and the Belizean Embassy and the Washington Mission in case of an emergency.

The non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Ellsworth John, has written to the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry, communicating our concerns and requesting that the insurance be expanded as needed, to cover any treatment that they require. I have been advised, that the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry, has since responded, requesting that you inform them immediately in the case of any occurrence related to the swine flu outbreak.

Our medical advisors, have expressed concern, that you may be placing yourselves and others at risk while attempting to leave Mexico. It must be noted, that travel in enclosed buses and/or planes for considerable periods of time, would facilitate the contraction of the virus and should be avoided. Scenarios for quarantine were examined and concerns were also raised, that given our constraints, persons would have to be housed together and if only one of you were to arrive with the infection, you would all run the risk of infection. As you can appreciate, this would require special logistical arrangements, which we are currently working on, since the virus would have to be contained.

We fully understand your concerns at this stage and we continue to monitor the situation and to respond accordingly in the best interest of all of our citizens. We encourage you to take all reasonable steps to ensure your safety and to focus on the successful completion of your exams, when classes resume on the 6th of May.

I take this opportunity to let you know, that you are in our prayers and we await your safe return at the end of your studies to make your contributions to the further enhancement of our nation and our Caribbean civilisation as a whole.

Hon. Sir Louis H. Straker

Acting Prime Minister,

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce

and Trade.

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