With the entire sister island of Jost van Dyke being placed on emergency quarantine for 7 days as a result of an individual who resided on the island testing positive for coronavirus on arrival in St Vincent and the Grenadines last week, Opposition Members in the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) are now calling on the Government to furnish them with details surrounding the latest Curfew Order.
Calling for the Curfew Order to be debated in the HoA, Hon Julian Fraser RA followed comments from Hon Melvin M. Turnbull for the Government and Opposition to have a discussion about the matter outside of the public sphere, so that all members of the House would be informed about the issue.
“I don’t think anyone has heard the end of it as yet, I’m still here getting reports something took place in Sea Cows Bay, and that is my district and whatever that is, Mr Speaker, I want to know about it,” Hon Fraser said.
JvD curfew issued at 1:30 am today - Hon Malone
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone, responding to the comments, said it was due to an emergency the curfew act was put in place after a meeting with the Cabinet last evening and the order issued at 1:30 am this morning, July 21, 2020.
He said Members were informed via WhatsApp of the emergency measure but no one indicated they were interested in further discussion.
“I sent out the Order to some Members and I was checking my WhatsApp… only to see nothing there in terms of before any statements or anything, I came into the House, sat with blank stares coming from the other side,” Hon Malone said.
“Just like in any theatre, as soon as the curtains rise, we have these concerns we have these concerns being voiced,” Hon Malone added.
Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) said due to the situation in JvD being a national issue, all HoA members should have been privy to the information via a discussion.
Gov't has noting to hide - Premier Fahie
He said the Opposition has no ulterior motives and that a conversation with both the Premier and Deputy Premier was requested ahead of today's sitting.
Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), stepping in, said the Opposition Leader was informed after yesterday’s HoA sitting before the Cabinet meeting and that the government has nothing to hide over the latest COVID-19 measure.
He said while a debate on the curfew would be premature, as the imposition order was not on the HoA Order Paper, he agreed for the House to head into recess so the matter could be discussed out of the public sphere.