BVI News

BVI needs a COVID czar | Is gov’t aware of damage being caused?

Myron Walwyn.

Former legislator and chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Myron Walwyn, has said he believes the government should hire a COVID-19 czar which will allow for better monitoring and management of daily operations in the territory.

A czar (also spelled tsar) can be defined as a person appointed by the government to advise on and coordinate policy in a particular area.

Walwyn’s suggestion came after he recently took to his social media page to question whether the sitting government is aware of the ‘damage’ being caused to the BVI’s brand with their constant shifting of announced reopening dates.

He stressed on the need for the health and the economy of the territory to be managed in a balanced manner, stating that a failure to effectively achieve that goal would result in serious damage to the BVI.

“Because of the precarious task at hand, it behoves the decision-makers to have a plan which is monitored throughout each day so that adjustments could be made in a timely fashion to avoid any sudden shocks,” Walwyn stated.

“I am not sure if there is anyone who has this responsibility overall in the government to coordinate COVID-19 matters between the government departments, the statutory corporations and the business community. If there is no one with this responsibility it may be wise to employ a COVID-19 Czar who will be responsible for this important daily monitoring of the plan vis-a-vis- the reality on the ground,” he further explained.

Is government aware of the damages?

The former legislator also questioned whether the BVI’s economy was considered in government’s latest decision to abruptly reschedule the reopening of the territory’s seaports for a second time. The latest date announced is March 1.

“In October, the world was told that the BVI would be open for business in December. Our visitors made their plans accordingly only to be then advised that the new date for the re-opening of the seaports would be in January. In January, they are now told that it will be in March. The vast number of overnight tourists that visit the BVI do so through our seaports. Very simply put, it is far cheaper and more convenient to travel to the BVI through St Thomas than T.B. Lettsome International,” he reasoned.

Do we fully appreciate the damage that this is causing to our brand? Are we fully aware of the number of refunds, for the second time, that businesses will naturally encounter after this recent change of date? Are we fully aware of what this does to the local economy?” Walwyn questioned.

Government does not understand the damage!

Meanwhile, former Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Sharon Flax-Brutus lent her opinion on the subject in direct response to Myron’s post.

She said she believes there is not “an inkling of understanding” as to the damage which is being caused to the BVI’s tourism brand.

“Truthfully, I don’t think they really care if tourism is lost and truthfully, I think the goal is really to subliminally destroy the brand and build God knows what. The bungling is catastrophic and heartbreaking, not to mention downright embarrassing. I continue to say that the idea and the plan to protect us as best as they can from COVID is a good one but the execution of the plan is a study in mismanagement as well as miscommunication or the lack of it,” the former Tourism Diector stated.

Czar a good idea but will it work?

Flax-Brutus also agreed with the idea of having a COVID czar in the BVI but said that due to the composition of how the COVID situation is being presently managed, it may not be effective.

She said: “Indeed, there appears to be no central point person leading the plan. Again, silo management and ‘it’s not my fault’ reigns supreme to the detriment right now of both health and economy. I like the idea of a czar but sadly he or she will be a powerless figurehead pandering to the whims of those with no knowledge but whose voices and power-plays are loudest. Inclusive planning? Surely you jest?”

 

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

41 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Hmmm says:

    You mean like they have in UK right now?? Copy much. We need to build our immune systems, social distance and wear our masks around people. There are not enough cases in BVI to appoint someone to lord over Covid. Fat salary and unnecessary staff to pay all at taxpayers expense. I strongly disagree with this suggestion.

    Like 54
    Dislike 3
  2. Pandora's Boz says:

    This is one of the things that keeps this place back – Czar this, Czar that, Committee here, group there, it just takes one person with the guts to make a decision and stick with it and if necessary adapt as information dictates. Everything has to be done by committees that NEVER EVER GET ANYTHING DONE!

    Like 38
    Dislike 3
  3. Alfred says:

    Way too late. BVI finished and USVI have all.

    Like 23
    Dislike 4
  4. Hmmm says:

    Like the damage that you and your party did. Go sit down.

    Like 26
    Dislike 16
  5. Good sense says:

    I agree with Myron. Someone needs to have the responsibility to coordinate the activities/decisions on the ground. If you notice most countries have a person/body coordinating these things. There are soo many moving parts across government, private sector and stautory bodies and they are clearly not speaking the same language. The tourist board from my understanding didn’t know that the port authority was making this announcement about the change in opening the seaports. The ferry companies did not know until the day before the planned opening that the ports would not be opened. A person/body who reports to cabinet will help with coordination and proper management across all stakeholders.

    Like 17
    Dislike 21
  6. Yawn says:

    A territory with a population of 30,000 and barely more than 100 cases and 1 death since the start of the pandemic in almost a year does not need a COVID czar. As a new virus there isn’t many specialist out there and they wouldn’t be interested in coming to the BVI to get minimum wages compared to what they can get elsewhere. The situation around the world is fluid. Some places have opened and closed their gates so many times because of the uncertainty. Sensible people know that these are unusual circumstances for most of the world and will get over the instability in time.

    Like 35
    Dislike 2
  7. annudda2cents says:

    despite all that is going on, and all that is being said, I think most of us can agree that we are in a much better place/position than many countries around the world.

    Like 32
    Dislike 2
  8. Musa says:

    We have our leaders and they doing a great job if you want to see changes be part of the change.

    Like 18
    Dislike 10
  9. mixt says:

    the cautious approach, given our small emergency resources, has to be about right. the way it’s been implemented however is severely damaging both pillars of our economy.

    Even if we let very few people in, the way residents have been treated has caused many many jobs to move to HK, Cayman etc. These places are also being cautious but equally trying to facilitate and hang onto the business they do have. This will be felt in the months and years to come. Those jobs are not coming back without significant efforts from government and the ministries.

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
    • GTFOH says:

      LOL, where are these facts to support your bogus statements about many jobs moving to HK and Cayman. Please stop talking out your @$$.

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
    • :) says:

      The main industries that are affected by the pandemic in the BVI are tourism and entertainment especially hotels and guest houses, yacht and charter businesses and bars/nightclubs. Which businesses that fall under those categories have moved or would move all the way to Hong Kong or Cayman for business. You cant be referring to financial services who mostly have not been impacted due to local lockdown or travel restrictions as most companies are capable of working remotely since Irma.

  10. The watchman says:

    Like the shifting changes after the hurricanes, when the military would leave, the government would get back power after the same Governor, or when we were to come off of curfew? Deh man, go sid dung! Go czar your tv or facebook page.

    Like 14
    Dislike 4
  11. Hog city says:

    This man who kill education and we Treseury still here???? boy go lawyer up over your wall

    Like 11
    Dislike 5
  12. omg says:

    The major question needs answering is what plan once we receive the vaccine. Those who want it or not need to decide if to take it and the reopening protocols of the borders will make this decision more informed.
    This government says they have a plan, please inform us as we need to know.
    Myron is 100% correct the constant changing protocols are destroying the economy. The cancellations of charters due to the lack of a plan has tipped millions off the economy.

    I push BVI News to find these answers for us all.

    Like 4
    Dislike 6
  13. soilder says:

    Myrob shut yiur drt a** up wgatcovid zar go and find the monet tou use to pay the covis zar stop fpllowing america we are doing fine so far we donot need a covid zar we beed a cavid zar deom you you just like TRUMO you better go covid the monies because you will get covid tou i think that you will not get back in power so dit down from makinf troublefro the country and your self if you what every story has an end ans you should go reaD YOUR STORY AND COVID THAT god is the one who controll time. Why you do not go to sr smith and the rest of the NCP and covit them boy time is beginf your door. This Government may noT Understand but we sure not want you AGAIN REAL BIG TROUBLE YOU need SO GO SIT DOWN BECAUSE THE CRAWLWERS AND HAULERS WILL SOON BE MAKING THERE NOISE ESPECIALLY WHWN IT COMES TO YOU SO YOU sjpuld PUT A COVID 19 ZAR ON YOUR SELF GOD DOES NOT SLEEP AND OTHERS DO NOT FORGET GO SIT DOWN YOUR LONG LANKEY JACKA**

    Like 3
    Dislike 4
  14. Earl says:

    I thought we already have one….. Skelton Cline !

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  15. rofl says:

    I feel the NDP need a Czar. They like weeds blowing in the wind rustling every now and then but not really relevant or making any impact

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  16. Cult says:

    The cult members are out and up to their old tricks again. No objectivity at all. Just low, nasty comments. Pressing like continuously when it’s in their favor and dislike when it’s agsinst them. Empty vessels.

  17. Finally says:

    Very good comments and ideas Myron. The damage to the BVI tourism product will follow us for many years to come. The recent opening of the moorings base on St. Thomas along with the other charter companies that are splitting their fleet here and opening new bases is a sign of challenges for the industry.
    The uncertainty coming from the government with bad decisions and constant changing of dates when people have already planned their trips is surely not helpful. Thanks Myron. Finally something is said about the madness.

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  18. Help needed says:

    The government need help with the management of the covid fall out. The economy is in shambles. There are those who feel good about receiving some money from government so they think everything is fine. The government cannot afford to keep dishing out money like they are without any system of how they should distribute it. They will run the country broke. Businesses are the life line of any economy and if they are struggling the country will struggle.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  19. Cafe says:

    It is good that Myron and Sharon decided to speak out. These are two people who know tourism well. Keep speaking out on our behalf. The industry is being destroyed because of poor planning, none involvement of the tourism investors in decision making and pure out lack of knowledge on the industry at the very top of the government.

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  20. Wise up people says:

    There is no sense half the time in engaging in any discussion on the blogs with some of these VIp cult members. You could tell from what they say that they don’t understand anything and don’t care to either. It is embarrassing when you cannot engage in a discussion and stick to the issues. That is why I prefer Facebook discussions because the fools would not dare expose themselves talking nonsense publicly.
    Myron raised some important points that regardless of your political views you cannot ignore them. The government is not handling the logistical part of the covid fall out efficiently and it is hurting the economy and local businesses. It’s a fact!
    Having a Czar doesn’t mean hiring someone new. It is having a point person who coordinates things to avoid screw ups like we have been having. It could be someone already in the public service with the skills required. He mentioned the damage to the tourism product which is real. It seems like we have to learn the hard way in the BVI. We take too much for granted. Let us continue to say that God is from the BVI. God is from everywhere people. We will suffer the consequences if we don’t get our thinking straight and stop supporting crap in the name of politics. The VIP doing nonsense and those who know business know that is true.

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  21. Smh says:

    I’m agreement with all you have said Myron. I understand Sharon’s concerns because she would have worked with this government to understand the nonsensical behavior that is prevailing. We seem to be at a real bad place.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  22. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, self hate continues to be one of our biggest issues today.

    The Black conscious sociologist and psychologist are mourning the pitiful mental state of Black people still.

  23. @Anon says:

    Self hating Blacks, men and women, who see no good in their own people, messengers, indivduals or culture, will find out too late that the white culture they are brainwashed to uphold over their own does not like, need or want them.

    This will come to pass.

  24. Another Anonymous Poster says:

    Don’t we have a BVI Tourist Board? Isn’t development and in this case safeguarding the tourism industry and product their role? Don’t we have a Ministry of Finance Macro Fiscal Unit? Isn’t advising on and developing policy related to the economy their role?

    The structures already exist. The Government has taken a policy decision to prioritize safety. You can take a lock down approach and have no economy or open sepulchre and end up like the US on opposite extreme ends of the spectrum.

    If you want to pivot further to the side of economy then you have to be willing to sacrifice some health and safety. This is a matter of a policy decision and the Government has been very clear on where they stand and how slowly and cautiously they wish to move towards opening.

    If there are enough voices wishing to pivot more quickly then they need to advocate for that and be willing to sacrifice degrees of safety for degrees of economy not just make noise in the heckling gallery.

  25. patriotic says:

    BVI DONT NEED CZAR FOR COVID IN BVI , BVI NEED A MODERN DAY ROBIN HOOD IN ORDER TO HAVE SOME EQUITY IN THE BVI.

  26. NO VISION says:

    THESE POLITICIANS HAVE NO VISION AND GO TO LEGCO AND ANNOUNCE WHAT THEY SEE ON CNN AND BBC

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  27. Good idea says:

    Some coordination is needed. Whether it is called a czar or some other name. Every country that is serious about fighting this virus to save their economy has a steering group in place. As close as Barbados has someone dealing with this.

  28. No powers? says:

    The Premier appointed a Czar, the so-called SteerCo, and then promptly gave them Zero powers. None! It was all window dressing… Smoke & Mirrors.

  29. Rivals says:

    Pretty sure this government’s administration of re-opening to tourism rivals the previous government’s administration of our post-Irma recovery.
    Both are cloaked in darkness and covered up by chaos.

Leave a Comment

Shares