REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE,
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
FRIDAY, 16TH JULY 2021
Good day and GOD’s Blessings to everyone.
The people of the Virgin Islands were asked to join their hearts and hands in unity in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for our safety and protection and that of the economy.
The 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting started on Sunday, July 11 from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I thank the people of the Virgin Islands for being a part of this important part of our culture. We are a praying people. It is customary for us to individually and collectively petition GOD to protect us from the plans of the enemy both in the spiritual and natural realm. I pray that GOD continue to keep us safe as we continue to adhere to the health and safety protocols.
We have lost a few lives, too many to COVID-19, in totality from last year to now we have lost 13 lives as of today, one from last year and 12 thus far, all of whom I know. As you know this is a ‘close knit’ community where we all know each other. When one person dies, it shocks us all. We are all touched by it. So, this is heartbreaking not only for me, but for families and friends who have been directly impacted. My heartfelt condolences, words cannot begin to express what I am feeling right now, and what you the family are experiencing, as we have lost our loved ones prematurely. Let us take a moment of silence as we remember their lives.
COVID-19 may look like its winning, but we will win this battle. COVID-19 may look like it is bigger than us, but rest assures that it is not bigger than the God we serve. We will continue to come together, pray together, and believe in GOD together, and do our part to turn things around for the good. GOD will do His part, but we must do our part.
Whilst it is voluntary, I strongly urge you to take the vaccine. Being vaccinated gives your body the best chance to fight the virus. I especially urge those who have underlying health conditions, the elderly and the young, safeguard yourselves.
You will have heard from Dr. Ronald Georges in statements and interviews saying that we have had to change our approach to the outbreak. The priority is now:
- Limiting person to person contact
- Isolating all sick persons and household contacts
- Changing testing strategy to dissuade mass-testing
- Increasing Vaccination Coverage
- Managing ill persons
- Building resilience and capacity within the health system to manage the upsurge.
Building resilience and capacity in the health system is of primary importance as the number of cases increase. We need to ensure that we can provide immediate and necessary care to those that need it and we do not want our hospital to be overwhelmed. Your Government is sparing no resources to ensure that whatever is needed is provided to ensure the health and safety of all.
We all have a part to play in supporting this, we must ALL, regardless of vaccination status continue to:
- Wear masks properly
- Keep social distancing
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sanitise appropriately
We must be vigilant for symptoms and strict about staying at home to limit the spread of the infection.
I welcome the Leader of the Opposition who has now joined us publicly to encourage persons to get vaccinated. I also welcome all Virgin Islanders locally and abroad who are coming forward more than ever to encourage vaccination. I thank the Members of my Government who have been championing this from day one, and all the people who have lent their voices to support. We are indeed united on this. We are in this together.
As Virgin Islanders it is in our DNA to always come together for the benefit of our home, the Virgin Islands.
That is why I am excited about this Saturday, 17 July and Sunday, 18 July. These are the days we will have the OPERATION PROTECT EACH OTHER VACCINATION DRIVE THRU from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Festival Grounds. It is a combined effort with the Government of the Virgin Islands, UNICEF, and the BVI Red Cross, and many other groups and individuals. There are specific instructions.
- You must be 18 years and older.
- No need to get out of your car. It is a drive thru
- Walk with your photo ID
- Pre-fill your Registration Form which is online: MINISTRYOFHEALTH.GOV.VG/VACCINES, BVI.GOV.VG and Government’s Facebook page.
- Carpools are welcome
- Be prepared to spend up to 45 minutes, if you have not pre-filled the form.
- Park and wait after the Jab
- If you feel sick honk your horn
- The first and second doses of AstraZeneca are being offered
- All vaccines are FREE!
We have made everything easy for you, vaccines at your fingertips. This will further magnify all the efforts we have done over the last 16 months to remain safe and healthy.
You have made everything as a people to help us get where we are and your Government has made it easy for you, vaccines are at your finger tips. This will further magnify all the efforts we have done all over the last 16 months to remain safe and healthy.
We are asking you to MASK UP RIDE OUT HELP SAVE A LIFE TODAY. We will be announcing the plan and schedule for the Sister Islands. The team is working on it as we speak.
Overall, I want us to do all that we can to keep ourselves and each other safe. I look forward to many of our people taking advantage of this opportunity to remain safe.
Let us BE RESPONSIBLE. Follow the protocols to protect yourself and those around you and remember the GOD of our forefathers is with us.
And I thank you, I know that these are tough times but as people of faith we know that GOD will help us to get through these tough times.
I thank you.