The British Virgin Islands has been applauded by a High-Level United Nations Panel for its response to COVID-19 at a virtual Consultation for Action on Social Protection in the COVID-19 Response in the Eastern Caribbean.
The commendation came as Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie delivered the panel’s keynote address in which he outlined the BVI’s health, social and economic response to COVID-19 and the Government’s efforts to protect the most vulnerable persons in society.
In his speech the Premier said, “I am pleased to share with you that after 8 reported infections, including one very sad death, there are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in the BVI that we are aware of. Through mandatory social distancing and hygiene measures, we are working diligently to be free of the coronavirus. The progress achieved thus far has allowed us to restart the economy and maintain the functioning of our internal market for goods and services. At each stage of our health, social and economic response, social protection has been integrated into our decision-making.”
Among the plaudits received by the Premier from the panel, was a statement by the Honourable Camello Gonslaves, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Technology in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who said,
“I would like to thank His Excellency the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, not only for his statement this morning, but for his leadership in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the perspective he has brought as we try to get through this crisis together.”
The other distinguished members of the panel included panel chairman, Mr. Magdy Martinez Soliman, UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the OECS; Her Excellency Ms. Marie Legault, High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados; Ms. Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean.
Speaking on the importance of the panel, Premier Fahie said, “I was pleased to share the BVI’s experience in responding to COVID-19. We have made good progress and I am grateful to the UN family for all their support. The UN continues to be our key development partner as we combat the coronavirus and continue hurricane recovery.”
The UN Virtual Panel on Social Protection in the COVID-19 Response in the Easter Caribbean took place on 4th June 2020.
The Premier was joined by Mr. Benito Wheatley, Special Envoy; Ms. Najan Christopher, Director of the International Affairs Secretariat; and Ms. Patlian Johnson, Recovery and Development Cooperation Specialist.
The BVI also participated in earlier consultations on the UN’s Multi-sectoral Response Plan to COVID-19 for Barbados and the OECS, and is also included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund Joint Programme on Social Protection for the subregion.