SOLOMON Islands Honorary Consul General to Canada and CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi has commended Solomon Islands nationals working in Canada labelling them as “modern-day heroes.”
Dwivedi in an address to Solomon Islanders in Canada said that despite the global pandemic of COVID-19, Solomon Islands nationals across Canada have collectively stood together with Canadians.
“Whether it be by rising early in the morning to work tirelessly in dairy farms, or sorting fruits and vegetables in our supermarkets, or working in restaurants, these efforts have ensured that their newly adopted communities have continued to have the valuable daily supplies needed to put food on the table for their families,” Dwivedi said.
“I salute you for your continued commitment,” he added.
“Most importantly it is my strong belief that the courage for you to continue to serve Canadians in your daily duty is a blessing from the Lord himself who gives you courage and strength and protects you.
“It is his blessing to the Happy Isles of the Solomon Islands, which remains COVID-19 free.
“Some have also been working in nurseries to ensure that flowers, as well as fruit and vegetable plants, are available for those who due to COVID-19 rules are staying home, can tend to their gardens and grow their own food.
“I thank you for adding vibrant colours to the homes of Canadians at these difficult times.
“You have shown your commitment to your new home and your new neighbours by ensuring there is food on their tables.
“You are our modern-day heroes.
“You have risked your lives and have continued to work to ensure that your valuable role as part of the supply chain remains strong so that there is milk to drink and cheese to eat, and vegetables for dinner,” Dwivedi said.
He added that the global crisis due to COVID-19 has affected the lives of many and is having an enormous impact on how we are now forced to manage our daily routines.
“During this difficult time, we must remain united in our thoughts and prayers as one.
“This is a time when we need to set aside our differences to gain courage and strength as we work together to conquer COVID-19.
“This is the time that we must stand shoulder to shoulder with one another to support those who need us the most,” Dwivedi said.
He said that he also does recognise the fact that some of those who have completed their term of stay in Canada under the work permit are eager to return home to reunite with family and loved ones.
“You are separated from your beloved family and I feel your pain to reunite with them at the earliest given opportunity.
“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 many air travel routes for passenger movement remain closed.
“We are working with our international partners including various departments of the Canadian government, and monitoring the situation relating to passenger movement.
“We remain committed to working with relevant agencies to find you flights that will help you reach home and reunite with your families.
“However, many countries have had their borders closed.
“Although there are repatriation flights presently for Solomon Islanders from other countries, there are no flights from Canada connecting to any of these destinations.
“We are working with respective Airlines in Canada in order to repatriate our nationals as soon as flights become operational,” Dwivedi said.
“While we await reopening of airspace, it is also especially important that Solomon islanders in Canada begin to save money for their personal use in this difficult time, avoiding unnecessary spending as they may need funds in the near future.”
Dwivedi said that there are three Solomon islands workers who have completed their contracts, however, they are presently living with Canadian employers who continue to support them.
He has also asked Solomon Islands nationals to seek immediate medical help if they are unwell.
“If you feel unwell and believe you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please seek immediate medical assistance.
“Do not risk your life or the lives of others around you by using home remedies, or other sources of medical assistance.
“We encourage that if you have any questions or in the case of emergency, that you contact the office of the Consulate General of Solomon Islands in Canada.”
Dwivedi also asked Solomon Islanders in Canada to be vigilant as to how they share their information.
“Due to privacy and security concerns, we strongly urge that you do not submit any documents such as your passport, or visa details using social media such as Facebook.
“We will not respond to any inquiry made via social media due to privacy reasons.
“Your personal information is vulnerable, and we have to collectively protect it from being abused by a third party,” Dwivedi urged.
He said that COVID-19 remains a risk everywhere.
“The opening of the economy does not mean that you let your guard down and that the situation has normalised.
“We continue to record cases each day and unfortunately deaths due to COVID-19 as well.
“I urge you to follow all medical protocols as established by Canadian Health authorities.
“You must wear masks and wash your hands regularly.
“Avoid all unnecessary movements other than to buy essentials such as food.
“It remains your responsibility to take necessary measures against the spread of the disease.
“We must work together as one family and share our responsibility of fighting COVID-19 through hygienic choices we can adopt in our daily lives,” Dwivedi said.
“These are indeed hard times.
“Even as we stand apart, we stand united in our resolve to do what we must until COVID-19 is defeated.
“Let me also say that we must thank God for keeping Solomon Islands COVID free.
“May the Lord’s blessing be upon all of us and may he continue to bless Solomon Islands shore to shore,” Dwivedi said.