Post-Cabinet Briefing for March 21, 2022
- The Chairman of the Cabinet informed on the fire at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School and reported that the Acting Minister of Education, education officials, the technical team from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force including the Forensics Department were on top of the matter. Arrangements were quickly put in place to house students and staff at the Explorers Youth Clubs Headquarters in Phillips. As soon as the Forensics Team has finished its investigation and hands over the school, work will commence rebuilding the school so that the students can return to the premises for classes. In the meantime, psychosocial support will be given to all students, staff and parents, who will be monitored for any adverse effects. Instruction for students began at the Explorers Headquarters from today March 22. The honourable Prime Minister put on record his appreciation for the engagement so far of the Acting Minister of Education.
- A team from the National COVID-19 Task Force, including the Director, the Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Chief of Staff gave an overview of the situation regarding the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federation. The Medical Chief of Staff attributed the success achieved to following the science and making decisions from a health perspective without any political interference. He expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for allowing the team to function effectively following a life-first strategy. He reported that the COVID-19 Ward at the JNF General Hospital has now been closed for over four weeks. There are presently no hospitalizations and the country suffered a total of 42 deaths. The Chief Medical Officer gave the statistics and made certain recommendations to the Cabinet which will affect lives and livelihoods. In this regard, it was recommended that the shift system in schools be discontinued and in-person classes return to normal. Certain amendments were made to the protocols where the antigen test approved by the Chief Medical Officer may be used for entry into the Federation, while the mask mandate will be maintained for now. The Director of the National Emergency Operations Center and Chair of the Task Force sought Cabinet’s approval for certain mass events, especially for Culturama to be allowed. He reported on the readiness of shelters for the upcoming hurricane season
- Cabinet also received a report from the Committee which was mandated to formalize the STEP employees’ transition into the Public Service. The necessary regulations to effect this would be completed soon. A recommended date has been set for the transition to take place.
- Cabinet was advised by the Financial Secretary on certain measures which can be employed to alleviate hardship brought about by the war in Ukraine with the concomitant rise in energy prices, shipping delays and food insecurity. The Cabinet considered several measures to implement that will ease the financial burden on citizens and residents.
- Cabinet also considered submissions that will assist in the development of the Federation.