St Vincent and Grenadines PM Ralph Gonsalves injured during protest

Ralph Gonsalves

The prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines was hospitalised after being injured at a protest against a proposed vaccine mandate.

Ralph Gonsalves was walking through a crowd outside parliament when he was hit in the head by a stone.

The finance minister said he had been transferred to Barbados for an MRI scan on the advice of medical staff.

Protesters had gathered last Thursday to demonstrate against plans to require most frontline health workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Stones and water bottles were thrown at the protest; the 74-year-old prime minister was hit by a “projectile”.

A Layou woman was denied station bail last Friday evening following her arrest for allegedly wounding Gonsalves. Annamay Lewis is expected to appear in the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court to answer to the charge of wounding. She is accused of the offending stone.   

Vaccine hesitancy is high in St Vincent and the Grenadines, as just over nine per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, which lies in the south Caribbean, is made up of more than 32 islands.

Annamay Lewis

The country has recorded 2,298 coronavirus cases and 12 deaths since the pandemic began, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Almost 9% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the university says.

Its tourism industry has been badly impacted by the pandemic, and thousands of people were forced to leave their homes following a volcanic eruption in April.