BVI News

Govt’s travel protocols ‘impractical’ and an ‘overkill’

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn

The recently announced travel protocols by Premier Andrew Fahie is being labelled as “impractical” by a number of the Opposition members.

Their statements came during the Opposition’s monthly media briefing held on Wednesday, October 28.

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said the announcement showed the government’s lack of understanding of the BVI’s tourism industry.

He said the protocols have raised many concerns which he believes need to be amended if the territory is to revive its tourism sector.

“I want to quickly show just the level of how impractical these protocols are. Let’s take, for example, a family of five travelling to the Virgin Islands who would have to take essentially four tests for each person in that group, which would cost in the range of $2,700 per family. Additionally, there is an app, a portal, that is going to cost them $750, and before they even step foot in the BVI they have to fork up a cost $3,500 to come to the BVI. That is impractical,” Penn argued.

He added: “I listened to the Minister for Health last evening and it got me thinking. He said they have 11,000 test kits available and based on the protocols currently, if 200 persons come a day from December 1 to December 31st, we would run out of all of those test kits that we have, based on the four tests that persons have to take before the end of December. Is this a practical solution?”

It’s an overkill

Penn further said asking tourists to test four times during their stay in the territory is irresponsible and termed it an “overkill”. He said the cure should not be worse than the sickness.

“We are killing our economy. Do we understand that persons have not been working for eight months and if these cancellations continue, the season starts from December 15th to the 18th of April, and that means we would have lost an entire year of employment for many persons in this territory. A year of not paying rent, a year of hardly putting food on the table, a year of barely keeping your lights on,” he stated.

It’s a deterrent

Meanwhile, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull who is the Representative for the Second District — a constiuency which heavily relies on tourism — said the protocols restrict the industry from recovering, causing more harm than good.

He said the protocols are a deterrent to businesses on Jost Van Dyke and revealed that the bookings for tourism-based businesses in Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay have all been cancelled as a result.

“Not that you’re opening the floodgates to do it all at once, you can still do it systematically. But do not put these stringent limitations because it’s not just limitations, you’re actually deterring people from coming to the territory in the first place,” Turnbull said.

“So, if you are going to open, open means, ‘I am welcoming you’. You ever gone to somebody house and they crack the door? That’s not an invite to come in. That’s a what you want? And that seems like what we’re saying,” he added.

Enable persons to quarantine on vessels

Turnbull further said he believes security mechanisms such as the BVI’s Joint Task Force, the various barges, and the Royal Navy Ship at sea, are measures can be implemented to allow visitors to safely quarantine on vessels.

“You can create measures where I am quarantining, I am doing my waiting period on this boat away from everybody. They have provisioners who these boaters and day trippers and charter boats already have. Let them provide the meals and the essentials to these people while they are quarantined and have the same tracking mechanism,” he explained.

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46 Comments

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  1. island man says:

    I agree with you. I am just wondering if all the other members in cabinet are accepting these decisions that are being made or are they forced to accept. I cannot understand how everyone in this cabinet agreeing to every decisions being made recently. Dont they have a say or are they afraid to speak up. Those decisions clearly look like a one man show. Come on members of all the district speak up. Dont let the opposition alone speak. I know some of you are in disagreement. Speak up.

    Like 55
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    • @Island man says:

      I AM WITH YOU 100%. I WAS WONDERING THE EXACT THING. I SAID, THERE IS NO WAY ANYONE IN HIS CABINET WOULD AGREE, BE IN AGREEMENT OR SIGN OFF ON THIS. PLEAZEEEEEE SOMEONE SPEAK UP!!!!. WE THE PEOPLE IS BEGINNING TO PUT THE PUZZLE TOGETHER. THE PREMIERSHIP IS NOT A ONE MAN SHOW OR I CALL ALL THE SHOT SHOW. THE PREMIER ALSO STATED PEOPLE CALL HIM AND TOLD HIM HE DID A GOOD JOB. NOPE, THEY WERE LYING, YOU DID A TERRIBLE JOB AND EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MESS THAT WE ARE IN WITH THE TOURIST INDUSTRY. IF HE HAD SAT DOWN WITH THE APPROPRIATE PEOPLE AND LISTENEDDDDD, TO THE PROFESSIONALS HE WOULD NOT BE IN THE CENTER OF THE MESS.

      Like 28
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      • Agreed says:

        The Premier is in the middle of this EMBARRASSING TRAIN WREAK THAT HE CREATED. THE PREMIER HAS TWO FACES. THE BIBLE BELT HUMBLE FACE AND THE WELL, YOU KNOW THE REST.SOMEONE NEED TO SIT THE PREMIER DOWN AND REALLY SET HIM STRAIGHT.

        Like 17
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        • Rubber Duck says:

          This is the guy who believes it’s time for him to run a completely independent country. He would be declaring war on Russia in the first week. President Mugfahie. No thanks.

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    • Any says:

      Any moron that is stupid enough to place Foy’s tracking app on his phone deserves all he is going to get. Read below. Put your trust in the almighty, not these people.

      https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2020/09/30/covid-19-tracking-apps-leak-data/

      Like 8
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    • Wondering too says:

      Have you noticed the rest of the team seems voiceless? So they do not have an opinion on any policies being put in place? So you mean everything they agree with? Occasionally, Hon. Sharie or Hon. Shereen, or Hon. Smith will be given the tasks of promoting something – nothing major. That is the risk you take when you stand for something. Speak up and speak out. You were elected by the people, not by the Premier.
      #Letyourvoicebeheard
      #Wewanttohearfromyoutoo
      #Dontbebullied

      Like 19
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    • Hmmm says:

      The US has opened up. The mortality rate is so low that other diseases including blacks murdering each other is higher. Highest increase in GDP in history. Go Trump. You all might want to learn a little from the greatest nation on the planet instead of going to Jamaica and finding apps that steal your phone information

      Like 8
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      • gudiss says:

        u are a complete fool! u believe that GDP bullshit the US economy has never been this weak and is continuing to spiral into the oblivion.

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    • Deh Watcha says:

      They will speak up when election comes around and they trying to get re-elected.

      Like 4
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    • @Island man says:

      EXACTLY, THAT IS ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS THAT HAS TO HAVE AN ANSWER. MY LITTLE YORKIE BENTLY WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS GOING TO BE A PROBLEM BEFORE IT STARTED. I JUST CAN’T SEE MEMBERS OF HIS CABINET GOING ALONG WITH THIS. WHEN THE STORY BROKE, I WAS LIKE, DAMN PEOPLE IS GOING TO START CANCELING LIKE CRAZY.

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    • @Island man says:

      If his CABINET MEMBERS SAT BACK IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS, IN DUE TIME THE PEOPLE WILL KNOW FOR SURE IF HIS CABINET HAD INPUT OR SAT IN AGREEMENT. IF THEY DID, THEN THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO EXERCISE THEIR POWER AND PUNISH THEM AT THE POLLS NEXT ELECTION.THE BVI IS THE LAUGHING STOCK. WHO IS GOING TO TAKE US SERIOUSLY? NOW THE BLAME IS BEING SHIFTED ON THE TOURIST.

      Like 4
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    • Rodent/greg says:

      Penn has it penned,
      These politicians get their salaries and bonuses while the people get fed a bunch of BS lies and BROKE
      The people should get together and on Thanksgiving go to the politicians homes and take their Turkeys away from their dinner tables and watch the reaction of these greedy pigs who don’t give a crap about the citizens.
      Time for me to have a drink

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  2. This dude! says:

    If you think this Gov plan is bad then check out st.Kitts and Nevis plan. The strictest yet. Once again trying to be relevant.

    Like 12
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  3. Tourist says:

    Why would anyone want to quarantine on a navy ship, that’s just as stupid as the Governments ideas. Just have protocols like USVI its your only hope to salvage the season. Local vulnerable local people should isolate and let the country get its economy working.

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    • Thoughtful Sailor says:

      To Tourist: You are probably not familiar with the local situation. The Navy ship and barges referred to in the article enforce the border between the BVI and the USVI. This border has been very porous and a breach caused our worst outbreak. The USVI has many, many times the positive cases that we have had. So, the reference there was that since our borders are now better secured, it gives us the leeway to do more practical testing, within the Territory. NO one has ever suggested that these barges and the Navy vessel be used for quarantine!!!

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  4. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Andrew Fahie not listening to anyone. He is only hearing himself bark. A first grader can see that his opening protocols are disastrous and ridiculous. You use your power to help people, not destroy them. He is killing us. Where are the medical professionals on his team? It appears that all decision making is up to him and he is not making sense. Who is going to step in to stop this madness? I guess it comes down to we the people to speak out and protest this regime, until the next election when we can vote them out.

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  5. People says:

    people can not quarantine in their own accommodations at sea probably because we are then trusting visitors to be responsible with our national safety. That would be silly with lives at stake.

    If other countries took the risk of spreading COVID serious they would be down to Zero COVID cases too in preparation for their winter seasons when it will be a triple whammy with the flu and cold temperatures.

    Perhaps it is time during this global pandemic to start appealing to tourist who can afford to arrive and quarantine ahead of their week long charters.

    Lives are at risk and all the measures over the past months will be for nothing if they leave loose ends.

    All the crying out is nothing compared to how it would have been if people were crying that their people died because politicians did not do their best to protect the population during a pandemic.

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    • Hmmm says:

      If government going to keep tourists out, they need to support those who they stop from making money.

      You can’t shut down, and then refuse to support people when you do.

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      • um says:

        Yea let tourist in irresponsibly then shut us down for another 24/7 month long curfew?

        I guess you havent noticed France & Germany going right back into lockdown.

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    • @people says:

      So when we speak about safety it is only about COVID? What about families, businesses that will no longer be ‘safe’ as they will be in the poor house? Do you realize that with our without protocols COVID will come to the BVI, people will get it, some will get it bad, just like any other virus? These protocols are not saving anybody from anything, only destroying the Territory. We keep comparing to the USA, EUR etc. Have you seen any dangerous spikes or hospitals overflowing anywhere in the Caribbean where islands have been open to tourists since July? When the Flu kills so many people overseas, does it happen in the Caribbean? NO! So why is COVID any different? Let’s stop being lunatics and be practical in our approach to this. COVID is not going anywhere and demanding that people jump through 100 hoops does not keep anyone safe.

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      • Deh Watcha says:

        They rather you die from hunger, than die from Covid.

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      • Spirit says:

        Excellent point. The reason is that the human mucosal immune system works better then the person is breathing warm, moist air. This keeps the mucous membranes moist so most of the viral particles are trapped and flushed away. This is one of the key reasons that infectious respiratory diseases such as influenza spread more and are more deadly in the “winter” and they are less virulent and less deadly where there is less of a “winter” season.

  6. Very Difficult says:

    Hearing the government’s protocols for welcoming tourism back to our shores was equally shocking and disturbing. This decision is a very difficult one, one that from sitting on the outside seems to have all the answers.
    Readings the Washington Post has opened my eyes. There are states that are now imposing new restrictions on schools etc. Yes, we have been out of a job for close to a year, the virus is spreading like wild fire in both Europe and the USA. The UWIHME have projected by Nov. 11, the country could once more surpass 1000 deaths daily, by Dec. 28 over 2000 all due to COVID-19.
    Yes, they should amend the protocols but only to an extent of not risking a terrible outbreak in the BVI.
    This is much more serious than we thought. In Belgian City, they have asked the medical team to continue working in spite of being tested positive, even though they knows the possibility of the team passing on the virus to their patients, it has gotten that bad. This is only good for thought!

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    • Belgian says:

      Belgian City is a good example. The experts in the medical team concluded that it was better to put the infected team to work. I would gather that they concluded would be the same as coming to work with a flu!!! Covid does not mean a death sentence. The data is there in the number recoveries. If we as a population feel venerable because of our pre-existing conditions then let’s take our health back with good habits through good programs. People can only take so much

      Like 2
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    • @Very Difficult says:

      Even with the flu vaccine far more people die daily from the flu in the USA during flu season (Oct-March) so where is the panic about the flu?

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  7. Boy Blue says:

    Putting a Government in Power with no business sense No commonsense and No Sense at all is causing the Poor to Perish. The Dummist English Students can understand the Country is Open but For who The Rats and Snakes..Baby Trump needs to drop the Trumpish Style and operate Bvi Style..Save The Children Premier..

    Like 3
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  8. Plain and Simple says:

    The Premier had Months in advance to work on a plan for opening and he failed to do so. The BVI IS GOLDFISH JUST HANGING OUT IN A TINY GOLDFISH POND WHILE THE OUTSIDE WORLD PONDS IS GETTING LARGER AND IS FILLED WITH SHARKS PICKING THE TINY GOLDFISH OFF ONE BY ONE.THE TOURIST, OVERNIGHTERS, WEEKENDERS AND DAY TRIPPERS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE TOURIST INDUSTRY. FOY NEED TO STAND UP AND ADMIT THAT HE MESSED UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

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  9. SMI says:

    @ styles You Picked one of the worse Islands to compare the BVI with that tells you how our outrageous our requirements are.

    You are the ignorant one, you prove that you are the one whose mind is so tiny it cannot process loads of info at once or else you would have looked at other Islands. We can’t stay lock down forever we have to find a way to carry on.

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  10. MK says:

    Tourist) I am all for opening with fewer protocols than the Government has imposed, I don’t think that you read the article about the Navy and the Barges because if you did where you would come up with such a crazy idea that you would be quarantine on a navy ship I think that you are the stupid one.

    We don’t want to be like the USVI, and where you get off saying that Local vulnerable people should isolate and let the country get its economy working. Isolate vulnerable local people of the BVI so we can get economy working, I think you are ignorant self-centered person. I am all for the place opening up but suggesting isolating local people, You are bad news.

    Like 4
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  11. THANK YOU says:

    Agree 100%.

    So what can we do about it… and quickly?

    Can Fahie’s rules be overruled?

    Can we remove Fahie for unfit leadership?

    We need people in charge that understands the BVI economy, our vital tourism sector and how it effects every aspect of our lives here. Someone who will LISTEN to the people.

    Like 7
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  12. MK says:

    Hmmm Done look at the News the US is in a lot of trouble Trump Lover

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  13. Hmm says:

    Imagine they are not even saying anythingbabout workers who are still locked out. Are they going to quarantine too for 1 week or 2 weeks. What is the cost. If workers are still locked out how are they going to get the college gold certificate?????

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  14. MD says:

    Covid mortality risk by age compared to all cause mortality by age and that due to flu: Death rates from flu compared to death rates from Covid-19 are almost identical for people under 50 years and very low (0.1-0.2%). Covid-19 in people ages 50-60 is very low (1.3%) but about double that of flu (.6%). For people 60-70 the Covid-19 mortality is 3.6% which is much more than flu (.5%). For people over 80 the Covid-19 mortality is about 14%.

    Although the Covid-19 mortality for people over 80 seems very concerning, the all cause mortality risk for people over 80 is about 13% per year. Therefore, out of 100 people over 80 with Covid-19 infection, 14 would pass. When it is compared to the number of people over 80 who pass without Covid-19 within one year (13) it is not much more. Yes, Covid-19 is more fatal in people over 80, but not much more than all causes of mortality in that same age group over a 12 month period.

    The fear over this virus is causing as much, or more despair, than the actual virus itself. Shutdowns in developed countries have lead to increases in poverty, drug overdose, alcohol use, and mental disease. People trying to avoid infection forgo necessary medical care to detect cancer and other more fatal conditions than the virus.

    It is suggested in the comments that the U.S. and Europe (and the rest of the world except China) are somehow in dire shape. I can assure that is not the case. For the most part, we are all going to work and have otherwise adjusted our lives to minimize the spread of the virus. However, we are living relatively normally with a few restrictions on size of gatherings and we are wearing masks. We do not want more shutdowns because they seem to cause more societal harm than the virus.

    I wonder if the BVI government considered limits on the number of boat charters or hotel guests to some percentage of normal or maximum as a viable way to proceed. That would have made it possible for some predictable percentage of business to happen and then assess as necessary to increase or decrease. I believe that tourists would be very respectful of reasonable rules and precautions as we have been in our own countries. In this medical doctors humble opinion, the rules in place by BVI government essentially shut down the tourist industry. In doing so, they have created a situation where more poverty, distress, and crime will result. I hope to visit the BVI again one day but cannot do so with the current rules in place.

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  15. hmm says:

    It appears to me that the BVI is assuming that all its visitors are coming from either the U.S or Europe. What about the people coming from other Caribbean islands who just want to visit family members in the BVI coming from low risk islands. We have to take into consideration that we have to test four times…that’s $400 u.s dollars…if we are coming from the Eastern Caribbean that’s about a thousand eastern Caribbean dollars…this does not include the tickets which are always in U.S dollars and god forbid we are unable to quarantine at family homes what does the cost look like…plus the tracking device. I suggest that people coming from low risk island should present a negative test. quarantine and be tested on the 8th day instead of being tested on arrival and on the 4th day again…people visiting family do not care about going out on day 4 we are not that type of tourist we will endure the quarantine until day 8. If your coming from the BVI to some islands in the Caribbean u are considered low risk… only a 5 day quarantine at your family home or hotel and a negative test and rapid test upon arrival…this if overkill for sure.

    Like 2
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  16. BVI fan says:

    I would suggest that the requirement for negative Covid test results on arrival is a good idea. That plus social distancing, hand sanitizing and masks when in public places are all you need to safeguard the BVI population.
    The extra requirements of quarantine at a compound, second test and third test, active tracing software are very much overkill. The tourist season will be lighter to begin with and making the BVI more restrictive will only steer tourist dollars to other countries in the Caribbean. My observation is that travel policy will pretty much mean there will be no tourist season in the BVI for 2020/21. Further it will damage the reputation of the BVI as a tourist friendly destination for years to come. Many annual visitors will now be thinking “why BVI” when they go to other islands most of which are only requiring a test at entry.
    The effect of the job losses and no business income for small businesses will have a much greater impact on the health of the BVI population and economy. An increase in crime, domestic abuse and violence, depression, suicide deaths will be the likely result of shutting down the important tourist economy.
    Prospective guests will simply go elsewhere for their winter holiday.
    Keep in mind that the learning curve for Covid 19 has been very impressive. Most medical authorities agree that Covid fatalities will be less than the seasonal flu this winter. This is simply due to the availability of treatments.
    Remdesivir aka Veklury is now approved by the FDA as of 10/22 as just one example. Back in the spring the thought was ventilators. That has changed as they don’t use them expect in rare occasions.
    Best plan is simply to continue to isolate the elderly at risk population, wear masks, social distance and wash hands. The number of cases is up globally because there is wide spread testing but there is not wide spread increases in fatality rates.
    Why not simply adopt the same policy as other Caribbean island tourist destinations? Your tourist product with villas and boat charters is self isolating already. That is a huge advantage over sister island destinations that rely on less safe large resorts and hotel vacations.
    Exploit that fact and don’t kill your tourist season.

    Like 4
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  17. Swim says:

    Everybody bashing the govt including the opposition but still meen hearing nobody coming up with a solution to the problem. The government keep us safe so far its not only bvi hurting the world is hurting but atleast we have health. I went away and I could tell u wearing that mask all day cant take it down for a lil breath aint easy

  18. BPW says:

    As a loyal tourist to both the USVI’s and BVI’s the travel restrictions placed on tourists is unreasonable. I had a vacation home rented for two weeks in March and I just canceled it to avoid the risk of not being able to cancel closer to March.

    I was planning on having my entire family there, and we were planning to do a lot of cooking at home when we could find restaurants with outdoor seating available. Between being at the house, beach, and eating outside I think we would have been an extremely low risk, especially since we would have gotten an initial test prior to arrival. On top of that our airline is now implementing rapid testing prior to arrival.

    Someone should reconsider quickly or it’s going to be a long winter and spring for anyone running a business on the BVI’s. I’m holding out for a few more weeks but then I’ll be forced to stay on STJ or STT!

    Like 1
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  19. Segregation says:

    Has anyone else considered how this looks? I hear the government wants places like Pirates in the Bight at Norman Island and Cooper Island to allow tourists in one bar and locals in the other….I thought segregation was abolished in the USA in 1964 and for the rest of the world that was late. Why would we endorse moving back to an “us or them” state? Almost more scary than the racial divide in the US!

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