Scores of people have been reacting angrily to a promotion dubbed “One World Protected” that is sponsored by the Epicurean supermarket and the Ministry of Health.
A flyer that went into wide circulation this morning, May 5, is offering residents a $50 food voucher for taking the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – the AstraZeneca drug.
The promotion is retroactive to May 1, and the vouchers are redeemable at four outlets owned or controlled by the mega supermarket company.
Callers to Progressive FM’s Morning Bush Tea Show denounced this new campaign, and included these voices.
Meanwhile, social-media chats were abuzz with criticism of the Gaston Browne Administration and what residents see as “arm-twisting” of persons who are in financial hardship.
The critics note that Prime Minister Browne has steadfastly refused to provide either a stimulus for businesses or financial assistance to COVID-affected families. Hence, they condemn the promotion as “exploitation of the poor” and “taking advantage of hungry people.”
“Lord, have mercy! Have mercy, Lord! Everything this government do has to be so bottom of the barrel?” one under-employed woman asks.
Charlesworth Tabor, Spokesman on Legal Affairs for the United Progressive Party, is also appalled that a $50 food voucher could be used as an inducement.
“Are things that bad in Antigua and Barbuda that a person will be persuaded to take the vaccine for $50?” he asks. “The Economic Powerhouse should be able to do much better than that. This offer is a societal disgrace and should be … replaced with something more meaningful,” he says.
“This is the lowest, the very lowest,” another residents protests. “When the Minister of Health is trying to ‘ketch people’ with food, you must know this country can’t go no lower,” she says.
Meanwhile, yet another promotion has hit social media. This time, Arton Capital – a company associated with the promotion of CIP passports – is offering young residents a chance to win cash or a laptop computer in what one national describes as a “vaccination lottery.”