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Petition numbers grow after Carika Weldon’s resignation

Dr Carika Weldon at the Bermuda Molecular Diagnostics and Research Laboratory (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A petition backing the Government’s science adviser attracted hundreds of new signatures over the weekend in the wake of her resignation.

More than 8,000 people had shown their support for Carika Weldon on Change.org by yesterday afternoon.

The petition was launched in 2020 and was highlighted then by Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, who described the scientist as an “outstanding young Bermudian”.

Dr Weldon will step down from her post as science adviser and director of the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory at the end of this month

She told The Royal Gazette that her advice to the Government had been ignored during the build-up to the latest coronavirus outbreak.

One petition signatory wrote last week: “She should not be resigning and the Government should be doing everything they can to retain her.

“Dr Weldon has done an outstanding job and huge sacrifice for us and this island and should be rewarded.”

Another commented: “I am appreciative of Dr Weldon’s contribution and efforts as well as her dedication to answer the call of her country when we desperately needed leadership.”

One signatory wrote: “I am very proud of what this young lady has achieved and feel that Bermuda has survived this far due to her diligence and commitment.

“Bermuda needs to respect and appreciate our own people.”

News of the scientist’s resignation emerged after delays in the turnaround of test results.

Dr Weldon said she had warned against children returning to school earlier this month, which required 5,400 tests for Covid-19 to be processed in a matter of days while her lab was short-staffed.

She was a geneticist at the Oxford Genomics Centre, part of Oxford University Hospitals, before her return to Bermuda in April 2020.

Colonel Burch spoke out in support of Dr Weldon in the House of Assembly three months later.

He said that he met Dr Weldon for the second time when she was released from quarantine after flying back to the island.

Colonel Burch told MPs in July 2020: “From that point, I adopted her and told her parents that I had done so. I told her that she is now my daughter.

“As a fellow Bermudian I am so proud of her accomplishments and impressed with her work that I committed to doing everything within my power to ensure her success.”

The online petition said: “This young Black woman should be applauded for what she has accomplished at such an early stage of her career and we should be excitedly anticipating what she will do next, as she has only just begun.

“So, please show your support for Dr Carika Weldon and all that she has done for her country, and let her know there are more people in this country that support her.”

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Published January 17, 2022 at 2:49 pm (Updated January 17, 2022 at 2:49 pm)

Petition numbers grow after Carika Weldon’s resignation

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