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The British Virgin Islands has shared its perspective on how it intends to safely reopen the economy amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Special Envoy of the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Mr. Benito Wheatley in a virtual panel discussion with political leaders, industry executives, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in the Pacific presented on the theme ‘Islands Rising for Economic Recovery’ during a conference on Island Sustainability organised by the University of Guam on April 9.
Mr. Wheatley recommended that the relevant authorities of islands in the Pacific ensure that the necessary health and entry protocols are in place to identify and isolate COVID-19 infections and prevent the spread of the virus among local communities.
He stressed the importance of vaccinations to reduce risks to the public as economies are opened up to welcome visitors and emphasised the importance of keeping the public health situation under control to avoid lockdowns. According to Wheatley, “lockdowns damage the engines of economic growth and are very costly.”
Commenting on his engagement with political, industry and Civil Society leaders in the Pacific, the Special Envoy said, “Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean and Pacific should continue to share with each other their respective experiences in managing the COVID-19 global pandemic and the steps they are taking toward economic recovery. The British Virgin Islands has been highly successful in containing COVID-19, while safely running the economy which is opening up further as risks have decreased with the vaccination of the population.”
Mr. Wheatley was joined by other high-level panelists, including the President of the Republic of Palau, His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. and United Airlines Managing Director of Operations for Asia/Pacific, Mr. Samuel Shinohara.
Other panelists included the Vice Mayor of the Municipality of Del Carmen (Siargao Islands) in the Philippines, Honourable Alfredo Coro; Founder & Board Chair of the Blue Planet Foundation in Hawaii, Mr. Henk Rogers; and Senior Vice President & Chief Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at the Bank of Guam, Ms. Jackie Marati.
The high-level panel took place at the University of Guam’s Island Sustainability Conference on April 9.
The British Virgin Islands has been recognised by UNDP and the UN ECLAC for its successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic and for safely reopening its borders and economy through the adoption of robust health and entry protocols.
Note to Editors: Top row: (L-R): Ms. Jackie Marati, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at the Bank of Guam; His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. President of Republic of Palau; and Mr. Samuel Shinohara, United Airlines Managing Director of Operations for Asia/Pacific.
Bottom row: (L-R): Mr. Benito Wheatley, Special Envoy of the Premier of BVI; Mr. Henk Rogers, Founder & Board Chair of the Blue Planet Foundation in Hawai`I; and Hon. Alfredo Coro, Vice Mayor of the Municipality of Del Carmen (Siargao Islands) in the Philippines.