Cayman selling more test kits around region

| 11/04/2020 | 52 Comments
COVID-19 test kits are loaded on a plane bound for Barbados

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has sold another 20,000 of its supply of COVID-19 test kits to Barbados after consultation with healthcare professionals here about the numbers we require to manage the testing locally. Officials said that this latest sale was agreed after Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley reached out to Premier Alden McLaughlin on Thursday and asked to buy some of the kits acquired from South Korea.

After selling 35,000 to Bermuda, the CIG has now confirmed that it intends to keep 100,000 of the original 200,000 consignment and will be offering the remaining 45,000, at cost, to regional CARICOM and British Overseas Territory governments..

Cayman had purchased 200,000 kits, costing US4.4 million, because it was the minimum order it could secure. If it sells half of those to regional governments, the bill will be reduced to US$2.2 million, but that will be subsidized by wealthy resident Susan Olde of East End, who last week offered to pay for half of the kits Cayman was buying.

“We have fortunately been able to purchase many more test kits than we need,” the premier said. “It is only fitting that we share the excess with our friends and neighbours, who can use them to help save lives and eradicate this virus, something that is in everyone’s interest.”

The consignment for Barbados, including 200 dry swabs, was collected Friday afternoon by plane.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said in a press release Saturday that he was “pleased to support the premier and my Cabinet colleagues with this request for much needed supplies. To fight this virus and rid our region of it, we must all come together.”

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Category: Caribbean, Health, health and safety

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Caribbean country with the highest cases of covid19 are giving their test kits to other countries…things that make you go hmmm…

  2. Anon says:

    10.08am You’re right about Bermuda. They look down on everyone else. However Bahamas and Barbados are our brothers and we should assist them where we can. In fact we should recruit more from there and less from Jamaica to avoid a continuation of our country being negatively overwhelmed by one culture.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Cayman bought 200,000 test kits from South Korea for $4.4 million, according to the Compass, with a local philanthropist picking up half the tab.
    Mr Burt said: “Premier McLaughlin said that he bought all those tests. He knew that he would not need all of those tests but that was the minimum order of which he could provide and we were happy to share inside of that particular load.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why are we doing this? In the past 4 years we have doled out favours to many of our regional neighbours. Bahamas has a population of 400k; we give them our only helicopter after a hurricane. Barbados has a population of 280k; we have sold them 10% of the tests we acquired. Bermuda, they’ve insulted and looked down on us for decades, their government actually provides them good services, and although they mismanaged their economy, they have the same purchasing power and the same billionaire residents we do, but we sold them 17.5% of the tests we purchased. More than a quarter of our tests have gone to richer, bigger countries who never do anything for us (noting that we had passed Bermuda in population until all this happened, and the only reason their government has a bit more money is they have a 10% payroll tax). What do we ask these other islands for? This is a serious question. And before you answer, yes, I know a few Caymanians went to Bermuda for their initial training as Cayman Regiment officers. Read some of the comments on the week-long series Bermuda’s newspaper ran on us a few weeks ago and see what some Bermudians have to say about us and everyone else in the ‘West Indies’ of which they are fervently NOT a part, they insist. They stand alone and exceptional in the Atlantic Ocean, they’re proud of it. Look at their Premier Burt, he wouldn’t even actually confirm the purchase. He just said ‘lots of sister governments are looking for things, no need for us to all be trying to buy them’. These jurisdictions seem to be happy to take, but what are they eventually going to give? That is a valid question when we are not talking about small or random acts of kindness from person to person; we are talking about international emergency procurement and life or death of our population.

    We were told that sometimes more than one test is needed and two are needed to confirm recovery. That’s 3 tests minimum each for 65k people here = 195k test kits needed. We would have had enough to test and clear everyone in the country, without having to buy any more, with 5k to spare. Are we hoping Barbados will buy 200k tests next and we will buy 20k of them when we have run out? The idea isn’t to plant favours all over the region that we never call in, Alden. If we are able to punch above our weight and flex to get large quantities of rare supplies delivered here quickly we should be proud of that and use them to restore our own country. Not to mention I doubt Ken Dart or Susan Olde or whoever else contributed went to the efforts they did to help Bermuda and Barbados; they wanted to help Cayman.

    Heart is in the right place, ordinarily I would approve, but in this case, it seems hasty, foolhardy and just an ego-stroking exercise for Alden. I admit it would have been hard for him to turn down the Barbados PM who reached out to us, but Bermuda we just offered them up to as far as I am aware. Alden has been hawking these things like the cloth merchant he looks like in his short-sleeved shirts on many occasions during the briefings, when the cost of the tests was halved by a private donation and they were supposed to be for us.

    All for being generous to neighbours but what is the rationale and why now and why these tests that are so hard to get? If the answer is ‘we can sell half of them because we aren’t going to test everybody or even close to everybody’ (which admittedly they have said already) that decision itself requires justification. Why NOT test everyone? We had the ability and we gave it away.

    These decisions may come back to bite us and if they do, I sure hope Bahamas or Barbados or Bermuda come to our rescue, but I doubt it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry we have over 64,000 people here and if you had to test anyone twice that is well over 100k kits, why tell the public you had bought 200k for the people just to sell off half of it… I don’t have an issue with helping but why give people the big speech and then do something else.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am all for helping other countries but we have to be cautious about giving away everything we have. These test were hard to come by and very expensive. what happens if this virus takes hold as it seems to be communal now. It also seems that with people just not abiding by the stay at home curfew orders this will likely blow up on us in a very short time..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Better yet, the Cayman Islands should sign on with the RSS. A safer, orderly, Caribbean region benefits us all.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Happy to help our sisters in the Caribbean but we need to put a pause on this and focus on getting a handle of the situation here first. We must help ourselves now and then help other counties. We have no guarantees that there are more tests were were those came from and we need the ability to test our people more than once.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, under the circumstances, returning money to Susan Olde is now in order.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Any quid pro quo?

  11. Chris Johnson says:

    Nice to see we are helping even more Caribbean Islands out. It is odd so many people were against this concept. We assist each other in times of hurricanes so why not now?

    • Anonymous says:

      The CIG did NOT buy those tests.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually they paid for half, try and get your facts straight

      • Anonymous says:

        The Cayman Islands Government has paid $4.4 M cash for the kits. Dart paid to fly them here and Mrs Olde has committed to pay for half the cost. I’m sure she will meet that commitment. When she does CIG will have paid the other half. Nothing is wrong with getting some money back and putting it toward other needed things. It also makes sense to help eradicate this virus in the region for the benefit of all of us. So stop being negative

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Anonymous April 11 7pm. Does it matter who paid for them it was CIG decision to order them.
        You will recall on April 3 I suggested we assist other islands such as the Turks. For that I got one positive thumbs up and thirty eight thumbs down. I will continue to stick my neck out and take the crap. When did you last do anything positive and why hide the name?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Utter lunacy. The entire population of Cayman should be tested right now, then again in 7 days time. It’s absolutely critical if we dont want an endless lockdown burning millions per week.
    Closing down the beaches is pointless and will achieve the square root of FA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone needs to point CIG in the direction of the sophisticated diagnostic & test tracking cloud software. If you can test, you can track, you can lift lockdown earlier, you can limit the economic burn down.

      It is all about getting an accurate picture of the virus in your population.

      It is emphatically not all about selling test equipment that your own country desperately needs.

      And wtf is all this Dart stuff about:
      Dart – we are donating 1m including to fund testing.
      CIG – We are selling test kits.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are aiming at testing up to 500 a day. If we get to that it will take at least 4 to 5 months to test everyone. Testing is not an overnight fix.It is part of the fix but it is not a magic billet. We must keep doing what we have been doing. Hunker down and stop giving the virus the opportunity to move through the entire community.

        Stop believing you are some kind of expert. The experts are in charge. Listen to them.

        CIG are keeping 100k kits. We don’t need more than that. Sell the spares and help our neighbors and get money to use on other needs.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It has been proven in other small jurisdictions that if you have the ability to test everyone then you should and quarantine those that test positive. This is the way forward in order to start to get the Island moving again. The sooner the better because there is only a small segment of the community that can survive for month’s on end with little or no income. Now I am hearing the health minister threatening to shut us down on a hard curfew for 2 weeks which is absolutely disheartening after enduring these restrictions to my freedom for basically 5 weeks already. Alden, what is the plan?

    • Anonymous says:

      Quarantining those testing positive would have to get past Dr Lees “patient confidentiality” qualms. He hasn’t quarantined those that definitely have the virus so far or their close contacts, and he wont share their identities with the police to ensure that they stay in self isolation. If he wont do it for clusters and family groups what makes you think he is going to commit to do it for some potentially sizable (certainly a greater number than already identified) part of the population?

      CNS: Dr Lee doesn’t make laws or set policies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry, reciting the bible and speaking in Latin will save us. SMH.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:31 really. Where in the world is your plan been proven. Tell us where. I could test positive today and start moving around and get infected next week. And start to infect others. We need to get to a point where we are not seeing new infections.

      Testing everyone is not a magic fix. The plan is to stay home and stop giving the virus a new willing host and then passing it on to 5 more people unwittingly. The sooner we do that is when we can get the islands moving again.

      Stick to the plan man.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Hope the sale price to others includes the CIF costs we’ll have paid and we’re not actually making a loss on these deals. Wouldn’t surprise me though if this hasn’t even crossed their minds.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We just sold swabs when we are short ourselves, why does Alden continue to help all and sundry charity begins at home.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one at HSA has stated that, if that the case speak up or shut up.

      • Anonymous says:

        It was stated that we were short on swabs to test all of our front line workers during one of the recent daily broadcasts. It was stated today that we sold kits and swabs.
        Which statement do you want clarified? Perhaps you should ‘shut up’?

        • Anonymous says:

          It was also stated we are to receive a hefty shipment of swabs within a week ya selfish dunce. bet you bought 50 cases of toilet paper few weeks back

          • Anonymous says:

            Within a week? From where?!
            I did not buy any toilet paper before the curfew. I have bought just a six pack since.
            What about you bozo?

        • Anonymous says:

          Stated by Jon Jon I’m guessing

          • Anonymous says:

            No he was too busy sobbing like a baby, due to comments like this.

            • Anonymous says:

              People like you have nothing to offer with your asinine remarks. You’re not funny, so you’ve failed on every account. Failed to inform people of what it is you know that’s so enlightening and failed to make people laugh when it’s clear you think you’re funny.
              It’s hard for you to accept that he’s the health minister but the fact is, he’s what we have. Why would you take the time to sit at home and type negative, senseless responses to what is a serious issue?
              Constructive criticism is accepted but not vitriol.

            • Anonymous says:

              Jon Jon cried in self pity on national television. It happened.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see this cooperation. The West indies federation might have failed but times like these prove who we can rely on and who we cant. We one Caribbean in end.

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