These concerns were highlighted by Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) in what he regarded as ‘vile’ content relating to COVID-19 emanating from the radio at certain times of the day.
“COVID-19 is real,” the Minister reiterated during the January 18, 2022, sitting of the House of Assembly, as he pointed out the millions of people that have lost their lives throughout the world as a result of infections.
“This is why I choose what time to turn my radio on and which stations to listen to,” Hon Malone added. “When you hear some of the vile stuff, you would reckon that you are making this thing up and making it up for what?” he questioned.
While Hon Malone did not single out any radio station or radio programme, Tola Radio 100.5 FM morning talk show host Floyd Burnett aka 'Heritage' had in 2021 labelled the Minister, the ‘Minister of Death,’ for promoting the AstraZeneca jabs.
Burnett, an anti-vaxxer, had also criticised the Government’s vaccination drive and mobilised a handful of protesters in July 2021 over the Fahie Government's vaccination drive.
Vaccination in the Virgin Islands has always been voluntary.
“We are asking the government to please stop the discrimination in the workplaces of employees that are vaccinated and unvaccinated. We are asking them to halt the issuing of vaccines presently until we understand what exactly is going on and what is the effect on people,” Burnett said in a JTV interview on July 12, 2021.
His call was also in line with the cries of local anti-vaxxers who had condemned the vaccination programme, while using conspiracy theories and unfounded medical claims to dissuade the population from getting vaccinated.
Some of the conspiracy theories included that COVID-19 was a hoax and that vaccination is meant for population control.
Anti-vaxxers also claimed that the vaccine was a profit-making scheme; an experiment; that governments worldwide were being paid to distribute the vaccine and that the pandemic was a cover for the introduction of 5G cellular technology and its effects.