Articles

Fri 15th Jan 2021

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SVG borders need to close immediately to keep down the number of COVID-19 cases

We are still hearing about more and more new cases of Covid-19. To make it highly effective to get this virus under control and properly limit the number of cases in our country, our country borders should be closed immediately to all foreigners.

Yachts are still arriving into SVG and the people on board are being allowed into the country and to stay at various accommodation establishments. This is fooling around; we must put highly effective control policies in place.

The potential to expose the staff who work at these places to the virus is very high, and if they are exposed to the virus, there is the risk of a domino-effect of infection from them to the people they sit next to on the bus and to the people that they come into contact with in shops or where they live.

It is not fair that the staff at these establishments are potentially being exposed to the virus and having to risk their life at work for a few dollars. There is the potential, too, that the people who arrive in the yachts expose the people they come into contact with in shops, bars or on the bus or in a taxi, to the virus. The risk is too high and totally unacceptable.

The continued focus on tourism by the ULP regime, even in the face of the global pandemic with Covid-19, shows that the ULP Regime’s approach is hopeless. Tourism is not a significant economic variable in SVG. There is no net gain for our country from the tourism industry. Tourism should be urgently closed for the sake of the health protection of all our people against the Covid-19 virus.

It is not good governance for policy makers to wait until our country has suffered many deaths from Covid-19 before they shut down tourism. The ULP Regime must wake up to the responsibility of not taking risks with our country for a few tourism dollars.

According to Vincentian-Born Retired British Royal Air Force Engineer Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, controlling the number of new infections should be a high priority for the ULP regime.

New Zealand has been a good example of Covid-19 control. New Zealand has a population of about 5,109,000, but has had low rates of hospital admissions and deaths from the virus. An early border closure was imposed in March 2020 and that has been a significant factor in keeping cases down. Being a country of islands, like SVG, New Zealand eliminated Covid-19 in early June 2020.

New Zealand has an advanced and high-income market economy with a GDP per capita of about US$36,254. Tourism is only a small part of its economy, so they do not have to risk the lives of their people to make a few tourism dollars. They can rely on other sectors of the economy that have a much higher income.

After 41 years of independence, SVG is still in very deep poverty and destitution under the highly incompetent ULP Regime. After 20 years in power, the ULP Regime still has not created a strong economy and that is a big problem.

SVG borders need to close immediately to keep down the number of COVID-19 cases and protect the people of SVG. We should not risk lives to chase a few tourism dollars.

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