HOLIDAY MESSAGE BY MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
SHINING THE LIGHT OF BVILOVE FOR A BRIGHTER AND HAPPIER HOLIDAY SEASON
YOUR ACTIONS SAVES LIVES
Season’s Greetings to everyone near and far. At no other time during the year is the spirit of giving and sharing more apparent and alive than during the Holiday Season - and as we go through this during a pandemic, we must pay homage to the almighty God for bringing us thus far.
At the beginning of 2020, no one fathomed what was to come with the ever changing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Things we were accustomed to such as travelling and greeting one another with a simple hug, now comes with consideration and extreme caution.
The British Virgin Islands I would say has been rather blessed to experience rather low cluster spikes with a ninety percent recovery rate for the entire year and just 1 death due to COVID-19; for that we are indeed grateful.
I take this time to express heartfelt sympathies to the family that lost their loved one and to anyone else who has experienced losing a loved one this year, as even our burial ceremonies have been impacted.
From limiting gathering sizes and wearing face coverings, COVID-19 has surely made the abnormal the new normal. And it does not end here. With our borders now re-opened, we must continue to stay compliant and practice these simple measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Yes, even during a time of giving, we must never go without consideration, particularly for our elderly and those with pre-existing conditions because they are most at risk of succumbing to any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
Although it is now the season of cheer and goodwill, for some the psychological and emotional impact maybe a bit too heavy to tolerate. Hence, I want to encourage everyone tuning in, that you are not alone. There are support agencies in place to help you through your challenges even if it is as simple as having someone to talk to.
There is the Mental Health Support at the BVI Health Services Authority by calling 852-7670 or professionals at the Social Development Department at 468-3650. And if you are not comfortable speaking to them, you can always reach out to professionals in the private sector such as the Wellness Center at 442-4357, a religious leader or a friend.
These are uncertain times and for some, who have not worked due to closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season may not be what you or your family is used to. As such, the Government of the Virgin Islands continues to offer essential support to those in need because we are a Government that cares for the well-being of the people. Persons in need are welcomed to call the Social Development Department at 468- 3650 for further assistance.
To our frontline workers, healthcare and public health professionals, lab technicians, and public officers who continue to work since the beginning of this pandemic. Those provided essential services such as grocery store and supermarket workers, bakers, waste management workers, school teachers, cleaning and custodial workers, courier services, IT technicians and media professionals; and to every single person, institution and agency from the private and public sectors who worked alongside us, putting service above self, sacrificing family time and putting yourself at risk in some cases for the benefit of everyone in the Territory as part of the COVID-19 response; I say a heartfelt thank you.
As we enter into the New Year, I hope that all of us take the lessons learned from this year that will make us stronger in our efforts; wiser in our decision-making; steadfast in our approach; and resilient no matter the challenge in our overall goal in keeping all of us safe. And once we do these things, as a collective force, only then will we be able to succeed.
So from my wife Pernis, my family, and the Staff and Management of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Season’s Greetings and a prosperous New Year.