British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 05, 2020

Where Is Cabinet Approved COVID-19 Plan?

Where Is Cabinet Approved COVID-19 Plan?

Opposition legislator and Second District Representative Hon. Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has questioned the reason behind what he said is the lack of a plan by the government of the day to deal with the Novel Coronavirus Disease in the BVI.

Mr. Turnbull made the remark on Wednesday, August 26, during a press conference called by Members of Opposition at the House of Assembly’s conference room in Road Town.

“We are still waiting for the plan that was approved in Cabinet as it relates to the COVID-19 stimulus plan, the recovery plan, the plan to deal with everything," he said.

“We are still waiting to understand that how is it we are here now, we heard of a rumoured, falsely-reported cases of a young lady who left this territory from Jost Van Dyke and in a matter of minutes in the late midnight hours, creeping through the midnight, a shutdown order was given for the island of Jost Van Dyke?” he continued added.

He said the government issued an immediate shut down of the island, however, this is not being done on the main island of Tortola.

“They shut down the whole island and tested everybody, but now we are here in Tortola of several reported cases, and we seem to be playing with people’s health. Because you shut down the banks, you shut down the financial services; you shut down businesses who have gone through this tedious process to get approval to open and then allow persons to frolic so to speak and gather from 5 am to 5 pm," Hon. Tunrbull stressed.

He continued, "so what message are we really sending? Are we trying to be popular? Are we trying to promote business, are we trying to stimulate the economy or we are just doing what we think we should do? Again there is the absence of a plan, in the absence of a plan there is always a knee jerk reaction to something."

Late May, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie delivered his $62.9 million COVID-19 economic plan.

The plan, according to Fahie, was to assist those who are jobless, struggling business entities, hotels, taxis. According to reports, that plan has been moving at a snail’s pace.

Concerns About Latest Measures

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn said he had some concerns over the latest measures put in place to control the spread of the virus.

“The concern that I have and the concern that the public raise is, we are allowing certain businesses to operate, but we are allowing persons in the public to roam the streets between 5 am and 5 pm which in itself sort of contradicts any plans to sort of halt the issue of spread (of the virus) throughout the territory," he lamented.

He said a more ‘viable solution’ needs to be implemented.

“I think the government said after seven days, the intent is to re-look at the issue of the overall plan. We believe that there needs to be an approach that strikes the right balance. Because if you are having persons that are out and about for 12 hours who could have been otherwise employed in their work places, places that have gone through safety protocols already, that have been assessed properly as it relates to health protocols and the different protocols that were put in place,” he argued.

Hon. Penn emphasised that, "we need to find the right balance to ensure that business that have been struggling throughout this period, who have been struggling throughout this last six months, many of them either we decide to support that aspect of our businesses, in construction, in different aspects of our businesses that can work safely. So we need to work on establishing those key protocols going forward.”

Currently, only approved businesses conducting essential services such as pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to operate between the hours of 5 am and 5 pm.

From 5pm to 5am, residents are to remain home.


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