BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 09, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) — Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, joined his colleagues for a virtual meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority earlier today (Thursday, July 09) where several matters of particular importance to the sub-region were discussed at length.
Prime Minister Harris was supported in that meeting by Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett; former Senior Minister, Mr. Vance Amory; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Kaye Bass; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws and Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM, His Excellency Sydney Osbourne.
The main agenda item discussed surrounded the opening of borders and protocols regarding the management of tourists.
On March 25, 2020, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, like other OECS territories, took the decision to close its borders to all commercial airline flights to protect citizens and residents against COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). However, flights for medical emergencies and International Air cargo and cargo by seafaring vessels were exempted to maintain connectivity and enable the Federation to import much-needed commodities such as food, fuel, medical supplies and equipment.
Prime Minister Harris recently described the matter of the reopening of borders as a very important but complex issue.
During his appearance on the most recent edition of Leadership Matters on Tuesday, July 07, the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister stated that, “It is certainly not just a question of opening up the borders, it is a question that within jurisdictions and across the region we have to determine what risks we are prepared to take. That is a matter on which science should guide us, and the experience of other countries should also help us in arriving at where we want to go.”
The honourable prime minister also reminded citizens and residents that the situation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid “because of all the risks attendant to it and the fact that we do not yet know all that we need to know regarding this virus and of course, the danger of the second wave [which] can be more devastating than the first one.”
Out of Thursday’s virtual meeting, Prime Minister Harris said OECS Heads will be in a better position “to make a reasoned judgement as to the best approach on this matter.”