India's gift of 40,000 Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in Trinidad and Tobago.
The batch of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines touched down at the old Piarco Airport terminal at 10.30 p.m. Tuesday.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Foreign Affairs Minister Amery Browne and Indian High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu were at the airport terminal to receive the vaccines as they were offloaded from a jet aircraft.
The vaccines were initially expected to arrive on Monday but were said to have been delayed in Miami because of bad weather which affected air transport.
Sahu confirmed he handed over the 40,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago’s people and government Tuesday night.
"India and Trinidad and Tobago share a long-friendly relationship, a similar history, culture and democratic value system. This donation is a reiteration of that long-standing relations," he said in a statement.
He thanked Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Minister Browne for "conveying their appreciation to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar.
Sahu also thanked Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
"We understand and value her sentiments. The people of India are proud of her achievements and struggle. Many in India look up to her as a beacon of women empowerment," Sahu stated.
He noted that "in the last weeks, many individuals on the street, professionals, diaspora organisations, public personalities, business establishments, NGOs and media have expressed their feelings either personally or through messages, emails and social media posts.
"Your warmth touched us. I assure you that a hand of friendship extended to India will always find reciprocity," he said.
Sahu noted that officials in the T&T Ministry of Health and Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and those in the High Commission, Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi and others in India "worked diligently to put in place the necessary logistics so that the vaccines could reach Trinidad and Tobago at the earliest".
"I urge all Trinbagonians to believe in science and take the vaccine if they are eligible and vaccines are available. It is our duty and responsibility to be safe and keep others safe," he added.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry also confirmed the arrival of the vaccines in a statement Tuesday evening, noting the "generous response" of prime minister Modi to a February 23 letter from Prime Minister Rowley.