Statement by leader of the opposition
As I have stated before, the COVID-19 pandemic requires that we all work together, without political partisanship, to combat the virus. Accordingly, as Leader of the Opposition and President of the NDP, my statements and recommendations on the matter are intended to help the efforts to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent serious illness and loss of life in SVG.
In SVG, there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 so far. So, we know that the virus is here. In neighbouring St. Lucia, two cases have been confirmed. Other countries in the region have also reported cases. We cannot test for the virus in SVG and must send samples to Trinidad to be tested.
In many countries around the world, governments have acted to reduce the spread of the virus and protect lives. Among our Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Maarten and Montserrat have closed schools and restricted public gatherings. This has been done even where there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 (e.g. Grenada). Emphasis is being placed on what is referred to as social distancing to reduce the risk of catching and transmitting the virus.
I urge that similar, stricter measures be implemented here in SVG to stem the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of illness. I, therefore, call on the Government to implement the following measures:
Easter vacation ending April 13, 2020, during which time the decision should be reviewed.
Finally, over the past three months, the NDP has been holding public meetings in villages across the country, and more such meetings were planned. However, in light of the recent developments locally and internationally concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, including the confirmation of one COVID-19 case in SVG, I have taken the decision to suspend the meetings and other large gatherings until further notice.