Message By Honourable Andrew A. Fahie
Premier of the Virgin Islands
COVID-19 Update- God is with us
April 6, 2020
I’d like to thank the Minister for Health, Honourable Carvin Malone for his very in-depth report to you the people of the Virgin Islands.
A pleasant good day to you the people of the Virgin Islands!
God has blessed us with another beautiful day to do things better than we did yesterday, and we are all grateful.
And when you hear the statistic that out in the world that there is 1,174,866 cases of coronavirus and in the British Virgin Islands today, praise be to God we only have three confirmed cases is only to thank God. So that is why I opened by saying we are grateful.
We have another opportunity to re-evaluate and make adjustments to strengthen things even further.
Yesterday, we had a wonderful time of repentance and praise in the Territory on radio stations ZKING, ZCCR and ZBVI.
As a Government, we thank all those who took the time to call in and blessed the Territory with their prayers.
We thank those who called in and sang songs of repentance and praise.
And, we thank all those who prayed in their individual spaces.
More prayer, more power. We are in this together.
It is always good when we are rowing this BVI Ark in the same direction, so that in the BVI we could conquer COVID-19.
For when we pray in unity to the God of our forefathers, ABBA our Father, it changes things for the better.
The Minister for Health has announced that we have had 17 samples collected by teams from the Regional Security System and tested by CARPHA over the past two days and the good news is that; all results came back negative for COVID-19.
To God be all the Glory!
We now have 64 samples tested to date: 61 negative and 3 positive. All positive cases have exhibited only mild symptoms and did not require hospitalisation. All 3 cases are being or will be re-tested in accordance with CARPHA’s protocol for determining full recovery from COVID-19.
At this time I want to tell you that while the number of confirmed cases is low, and we have no new confirmed cases, we as a Territory can only say thanks be to GOD for HIS continued mercies on this Territory.
But, this is not the time for us to let our guards down.
We must adhere to the curfew.
As you know, we are under a new curfew order.
We have asked persons to shop for 14 days because we are fighting an invisible enemy just like the rest of the world.
One of the things we recognised about COVID-19 when it became a dominant topic in the world was for us as a Territory to not be complacent, but to pay attention and get into the preventative mode.
I want to highlight something for you my people, about the progress that has been made with putting in place our preventative measures, at this point and time where we are.
The projections were that if we did not do the preventative measures, and scientific data that could bear me out—that we would have had over 3,700 persons in the British Virgin Islands infected with COVID-19.
I want to repeat that for the people of the Virgin Islands. The projections were that if we did not do the preventative measures, and scientific data that could bear me out—that we would have had over 3,700 persons in the British Virgin Islands infected with COVID-19.
Had your Government not put the preventative measures in place through the different mediums like Cabinet, House of Assembly, Health Emergency Operations Centre, we would have been behind the eight ball.
But, we did this together as a people of the Virgin Islands.
We spent our own $12M and we protected ourselves.
We spent our own money and we constructed an area in the Dr. D Orlando Smith Hospital to quarantine persons, if needed.
We used our Virgin Islands people to spearhead our Health Emergency response.
As a people, we made contact with the Cuban medical personnel through the OECS.
As a people we reached out to the UK Government by writing to the Governor. We thank the UK Government for providing 480 test kits that came through the Public Health England.
We are in this together.
As a people, we showed that we are responsible to judge and guide our own affairs in terms of being preventive and proactive. Hence, preventative and proactive measures are in place to keep all of us safe, so much that even other places have looked at what we have been doing, with some reaching out directly to us.
For the reality is real, no one has the playbook for dealing with this unprecedented health pandemic, in this unprecedented time. So we are writing the playbook as we go along.
In understanding the magnitude of this pandemic, we have put in place a control mechanism to monitor persons who are quarantined.
For those persons who have been affected or are in isolation, we are asking persons not to stigmatise them as they have not committed a crime. They have not done anything wrong. This virus is no respecter of person or place, or status.
Together we are fighting an enemy that we cannot see, while trusting in God who holds our destiny.
This is a virus where we must congregate less and have the social distancing between us so that there is less opportunity of transmitting.
So, right now we have no evidence of community spreading and we want to keep it that way.
So we cannot become complacent and break the curfew.
I must say again that our preventative efforts have allowed us to avert what science predicted where it was projected that more than 3,700 people living in the British Virgin Islands could become infected with COVID-19.
We did this by getting the needed facilities in place, as well as the needed materials and resources—all in place, and in the right time.
This additional curfew is important.
You see, once we are allowed to be quarantined for 14 days up until April 19, the scientific data and analysis show that we will be able to identify any person who may be infected—that we did not catch and we will be able to deal with those pockets much better.
If it is one time that we can help to stop the spread of the virus, it is to do something that is so simple to do and that is to stay at home.
I know that there are those rushing the Government to come up with an Economic Stimulus. We understand your concerns.
But we are not going to repeat any errors of the past.
The hurricanes of 2017 taught us a valuable lesson, and we either learn from it or get trapped in it.
I want to assure you that work is being done on the Economic Stimulus Package, which includes the assistance that will be needed to help the people and businesses of the BVI. Your Government along with public officers and key stakeholders are working feverously on it.
The first phase of the economic stimulus will be submitted to Cabinet this week.
As Minister of Finance, I will make an address of the Preliminary Economic Stimulus Plan for the people and businesses of the BVI in short order.
Just like your Government took its time, but moved with haste in the preventative measures of COVID-19 in the BVI to ensure your safety, so will your Government do the same with the Economic Stimulus Package for your prosperity.
I want to thank our teams at the Health Emergency Operations Centre, the Joint Information Cell, Health Care Workers, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Customs, and all those all public officers who are working hard, whether on the ground as essential workers or from their homes.
I also thank the private sector as well for doing its part.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment because we are in this together.
As a Government we thank the Family Support Network, Social Development, the Rotary Club, Red Cross, Lions and other civic minded organisations and persons for joining with your Government to help the community.
I also thank all my Government members, all 13 elected Representatives for assisting in this important time when our people needed us now more than ever.
As Premier, I stated to all these organisations and elected officials that funding was made available to assist them with ensuring that families and individuals in need get the necessary food supply to sustain them during this 14-day curfew.
I am glad that many persons were able to take advantage of this measure that was led by your Government.
I am pleased to say that a lot of persons for one reason or another were assisted and were able to benefit from it.
They truly had a need for themselves, truly had a need for their children, truly had a need for their family; and truly had a need for their mothers, fathers or persons around.
They were able to be assisted with all hands on deck.
I want to say at this time, during this 14-days curfew no one is alone.
For the seniors home alone. We are with you, but more so God is with you.
Single mothers with children. We are with you, but more so God is with you.
Single Fathers with children. We are with you, but more so God is with you.
Those home alone. Hang in there. We are with you, but more so God is with you.
For all of us in the BVI who have children abroad and we are worried about them. God is with us. God is with them. God is with you, and where you are God is and where God is, all is well.
Can I remind you that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link?
Hence, wherever there are weaknesses in our BVI chain of love it must be highlighted, addressed and remedied.
One of those weak links that has come to my attention is that we have a small pocket of abuse at home. Worst yet, where it does exist our males are being reported to be the ones at fault.
I want to speak you my brothers directly.
You must stop it. Stop it. This cannot be.
You cannot be abusing our females, it is wrong. You cannot be abusing our children; it is wrong.
God did not put you in the role where you are to be abusive. You are there to build stronger homes and stronger families, not to be a stronger monster. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated.
Whether it be sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, do not abuse.
Ladies and gentlemen only share BVILOVE.
While you are home, pray more. Talk more. Resolve more. Love more.
While you are home get to know each other.
Let us now turn our houses into our homes because a house is only the four walls, but a home is where there is peace and positive relationships.
Read your Bible or a good book.
Let us get each other through this mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
We want when COVID-19 is finished that the BVI would have conquered the virus and all the negativity will be gone from our islands.
We will have better relationships, stronger bonds, a stronger relationship with GOD and a stronger economy.
I want to encourage us to take care of each other so that we all cross the finish line together.
As your Premier, I pray to God that under your Government’s watch, that we do not lose one single life in the BVI to COVID-19.
For us to get that done, all of us must obey the measures that are put in place for our safety.
It hurts my heart to put all these measures in place to keep us all safe, but better we be safe than sorry.
Nonetheless, like the rest of the world it creates another issue of economic proportion that we have to deal with afterwards.
However, once you are alive and have the Faith in GOD, then we can deal with anything that comes our way and turn it into a brighter day.
Whatever God has given us before and He allowed it to be taken away, He can also replace it with greater things. The story of Job tells us this, as well as the storms of 2017.
May we all stay with God and remain COVID-19 FREE! And remember that GOD is with us.