In a recent Facebook post, Former Education Minister and businessman Myron V Walwyn shared his thoughts on the management of Covid-19 in the British Virgin Islands.
The post which began by highlighting the mammoth task for any Government in the handling of this pandemic stated:
“I have long maintained that the management of this pandemic and its various effects is not an easy task for any government. The management of the equilibrium between health and the economy requires strong leadership dexterity. To fail in realizing this important balance will result in serious damage to the country.
Walwyn continued by saying: “Because of the precarious task at hand it behooves the decision makers to have a plan which is monitored throughout each day so that adjustments could be made in a timely fashion to avoid any sudden shocks.”
He also suggested, that if the territory does not already have a Covid coordinator, a Covid Czar should be considered and appointed.
“I am not sure if there is anyone who has this responsibility overall in the government to coordinate Covid-19 matters between the government departments, the statutory corporations and the business community. If there is no one with this responsibility it may be wise to employ a Covid Czar who will be responsible for this important daily monitoring of the plan vis-a-vis- the reality on the ground.
We must at all cost avoid any further failed deadlines. In October, the world was told that the BVI would be open for business in December. Our visitors made their plans accordingly only to be then advised that the new date for the opening of the sea ports would be in January. In January they are now told that it will be in March. The vast number of overnight tourists that visit the BVI do so through our seaports. Very simply put, it is far cheaper and more convenient to travel to the BVI through St. Thomas than T.B. Lettsome International.”
He further questioned: “Do we fully appreciate the damage that this is causing to our brand? Are we fully aware of the number of refunds, for the second time, that businesses will naturally encounter after this recent change of date? Are we fully aware of what this does to the local economy?
I strongly believe that our people much prefer the dignity of work than a government handout. People want to work!
We cannot afford to continue making these mistakes. Too much is at stake. I truly hope that we can find a way to get this matter resolved before March 1. We must certainly continue to do our utmost to ensure that our safety protocols are in place and are being followed, that we continue to secure our borders, that we educate our people on the new vaccine etc. The importance of health cannot be overstated. The very nature of this balancing act demands careful, proper and inclusive planning.”
His comments come just after the Government of the Virgin Islands announced that the Road Town Ferry Terminal will now be open international passengers on March 1st, 2021, one year later.