Good day all,
It has been another challenging week for us in this Territory. This is a truly unprecedented time that has required unprecedented action from the Government of the British Virgin Islands and I’d like to say thank you again for your effort to comply with the new curfew. I have every confidence that we, the BVI community, will get through this together.
On Monday 30th March, I made a statement on support to the people of the British Virgin Islands from the Governments of the UK and the British Virgin Islands. I also made a commitment to keep sharing information on this subject with the people of these islands. Therefore, I come to you today with an update on UK support.
My team at the Governor’s Office and I, in consultation with our health teams here, have been working closely with teams in the UK on sourcing vital equipment for BVI. We have successfully secured a comprehensive package of the equipment and supplies that the BVI health teams requested. This week, 480 test kits arrived in the Territory from the UK – more than doubling our current testing capacity – and there is much more to come. These have been delivered directly to the BVI Health Services Authority. These testing kits are vital to our fight against the virus as they will allow our medical teams to identify, isolate and treat infected persons. I will continue to work, on behalf of the people of the British Virgin Islands, to secure further supplies and equipment from the UK. I intend to provide another equipment update next week, which I hope will include more test kits, PPE and isolation facilities.
Also, yesterday evening the RFA Argus set sail for the Caribbean. The deployment of this UK ship was always planned to take place this year for hurricane preparedness, but the UK Government decided to bring the deployment date forward to provide resilience to BVI and other Overseas Territories in the Caribbean. It is expected to arrive late next week, carrying hurricane-related aid such as water, ration packs and materials to repair damage and clear blocked roads, should the Territory be impacted by a storm. Whilst some of this may prove helpful in tackling COVID-19 too, foremost, this is a strong sign of UK preparedness and commitment to supporting BVI during the hurricane season.
Today, the Premier, Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone, the UK’s Minister for Overseas Territories and I spoke to discuss how the Governments of the UK and the British Virgin Islands will work together in tackling COVID-19. Our effective partnership is crucial. We discussed BVI’s response to COVID-19, including details of the equipment the UK is providing and a discussion on BVI’s plans to support individuals and businesses. The UK’s Minister for the Overseas Territories, Baroness Sugg, confirmed her commitment to support and work together with the Overseas Territories during this pandemic.
As this week draws to a close, I would like to reiterate the commitments I made to you at the start of the week. I will keep my communication clear, regular and open. I will listen to your concerns and answer your questions; and I will do everything in my constitutional power to serve you during this time. My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you during this difficult time.