STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
30th August, 2020
COVID-19 – CHARTING THE COURSE
My dear Virgin Islands people, a pleasant good day and God’s blessings to you and your families.
I know that the vast majority of you, as well as myself, are concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases as of late.
I am aware that the vast majority of you are concerned about your own safety and that of your loved ones and the vulnerable citizens in our society.
I know that the majority of our residents want to keep everyone safe, and to help us to get rid of COVID-19 from our shores. And, I know that these are the persons who are dutifully wearing their masks, sanitising their hands, maintaining the social distancing and obeying all the protocols and advice.
But, there are those who have intentionally put us at risk by engaging in undesirable activities that have significantly contributed to the recent spike.
Your Government and all the responsible members of our society have been working very hard.
We all have endured sacrifices and expenses. And we all have been working together towards the common goal of saving our people and our economy from COVID-19.
In order to ensure that all our hard work and sacrifice does not go down the drain because of the irresponsible actions of a few persons, drastic measures must now be put in place to contain any further spreading of this virus in our community.
To date we have 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 8 recoveries, one death and 38 active confirmed positive cases.
Curfew measures from 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. have already been put in place in an effort to reduce the movement of persons and to discourage gathering of large crowds.
However, the current 38 active confirmed positive cases raise many red flags.
In addition, we have seen the effects of some of these confirmed positive cases within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). While the number of officers affected with this virus is significantly low when compared to the size of the RVIPF, each is still one case too many.
Your Government prays for the officers’ speedy recovery.
Measures are being put in place to ensure that our police officers and their families have priority access to COVID-19 testing.
At this time, I would like to inform that the House of Assembly (HOA) held an emergency informal meeting to discuss matters related to COVID-19. All Members of HOA were in attendance on the online meeting.
The meeting was fruitful and concluded with recommendations such as, but not limited to, an emergency meeting of Cabinet be held to consider options for a more stringent Curfew Order for the Territory to assist in the containment of COVID-19.
Other recommendations from the majority of Members included, but were not limited to, the immediate implementation of a new 24-hour Curfew of the Territory for a minimum of 14 consecutive days.
In addition, discussions among the Members of the HOA gravitated towards this direction to significantly assist the health team in their ongoing aggressive contact tracing efforts without having to be concerned about persons who may be suspected as positive being mobile through the Territory, thereby contributing to the spread of the virus. Other options for a new Curfew Offer were also explored.
Members expressed their concerns for the RVIPF and provided possible recommendations on how to use local expertise to temporarily fill any gap while those officers affected are in quarantine or recuperating.
It was concluded that all the recommendations discussed in the informal meeting be carried forward to Cabinet for consideration and eventually decisions no later than Monday 31, August 2020.
I thank the HOA Members for the healthy discussions and recommendations. We are in this together.
Given that HOA has a crucial role to play in managing the affairs of the people of the Territory, I saw it fit to inform the public of what is being proposed.
I hereby request of the public that you be in a state of readiness in the eventuality that Cabinet endorses the recommendations coming out of the Informal Meeting of the House of Assembly.
I can assure you that whatever decisions Cabinet makes will be in the best interest and safety of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Currently, Cabinet is scheduled to meet on Monday at 4:00 p.m., after which the Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone, will officially inform the public of the decisions taken by Cabinet to combat COVID-19 in the Territory.
Your Government continues to emphasise that we are all in this together and we can only conquer these challenges with the cooperation of every individual residing within the communities that make up these Virgin Islands.
Remember, COVID-19 is not playing around with us and we will not play around with COVID-19.
May God bless these Virgin Islands. Let us remain vigilant.
I thank you.