First of all, I would like to say, my dear Virgin Islands people, Good Day and God’s Blessings to you and your families.
I pray that you are safe and healthy and that you remain so.
In a few short hours, we would have successfully made it through the first day of our 24-hour curfew period, and we have done so working together as one, one in BVILOVE.
We must all feel proud of this, and we must keep it up.
As your leader, I know that this curfew is asking a lot of you.
But, I also know that you share the same love that I do for yourselves, each other, and this Territory.
I know that you agree with me that we must keep everyone, especially the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, safe.
Our shared mission is to stop this pandemic in its tracks to ensure that we do not get any community spreading and to ensure that we send our count back down to zero—zero cases.
The best way to do this is by staying in our homes and obeying the precautions as we are doing, and for that, I thank everyone in the Virgin Islands.
We are in this together, and we will get through this together.
To date, we still only have two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the Territory. We are awaiting the results of nine more cases, and also be aware that persons are testing every day. Testing is important to ensure that all of us remain safe. Let us continue to pray that the two patients recover quickly and that we have little or no community spreading in this place we call home.
Tomorrow, Sunday, 29 March, your Government invites all of you, Kingdom Ambassadors (Pastors), past and present legislators, the Governor and all the people of this Territory, our House of Assembly Members to join in a National Day of Repentance where anyone can call the different radio stations and offer prayers and encouragement as we reflect on Psalm 91.
Persons can call in ZKING at 494-4600 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; ZBVI at 494-2430 or 494-6994 from 2:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.; and, on ZCCR from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We all know that Faith without works is dead.
That is why your Government continues to put measures in place to help our people.
I wish to inform you that the teams at the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the International Affairs Secretariat of the Premier’s Office, have proactively engaged with the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States and the Cuban Government to secure resources by requesting 30 medical personnel from Cuba. I am pleased to say that the team is ready to come to the BVI; we are now awaiting word from the United Kingdom through the Governor’s Office to support our request for this invaluable assistance from the Cuban Government.
I also want you to know that your Government is using this time to work on the pressing issues that are of concern to you.
We are working on our economic strategy and we are using different avenues of revenue streams for our people.
In past announcements, you would have heard from the Governor that the United Kingdom is willing to help the Overseas Territories (OTs).
I have put forward to the Governor that as an OT, BVI is requesting that all of our unemployed as a result of COVID-19, for a certain time, be paid at least minimum wage from a grant from the United Kingdom. As a Government, we trust that the Governor is able to assist BVI with accessing to these funds to match what the BVI is making available to its unemployed population as a result of COVID-19.
The objectives is to ensure that the monies that come from the UK directly reach and touch and affect the lives of the people positively, and will not be lost through all kind of technical bureaucracy. The United Kingdom can rest assured that all monies granted to the Government for this initiative will be put in an accountable and transparent system for the people of the BVI to benefit from directly.
Right now, your Government at this time is making arrangements for convening a Regional Trade and Commerce Symposium, which will be held on Monday, 30 March, via the Internet. This is a BVI Government initiative, with the support of our local business sector.
At this Online Symposium, we will be talking with the leaders of the business organisations in the CARICOM and OECS countries, and exploring ways to maintain our access to quality goods and supplies and ensuring competitive prices. This will not only ensure our safety in terms of food and supplies, but it will also help to restore our economic activity, and create the conditions for keeping our businesses going and for getting our people back into their jobs. This is our top priority alongside public health and public safety.
The benefits of this exercise will be with us long after this current Global Health pandemic is over, because it will contribute to the economic expansion that I spoke about in the 2020 Budget Address.
As we go forward, I want to ask you to make positive use of your time in the days ahead. Use this opportunity to strengthen the bonds among the members of your households. Talk about each other’s interests and dreams, and really get to know and understand each other. Remind each other of your love and grow that love.
By these positive outcomes, we would have triumphed over the virus in more ways than one.
I ask you to continue your prayers and ensure that you keep yourself and your family members safe. We are in this together!
May God continue to protect His Virgin Islands people. We are in this together, and together we will succeed.
I thank the people of the Virgin Islands, and I pray that the peace of the Lord be over us as we continue this curfew so that we can minimise and eventually eliminate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in our Territory.
I thank you.