While pointing out that it can do much for ailing economies, former legislator Myron Walwyn said the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should establish protocols among themselves to facilitate inter-regional travel.
He told BVI News at the weekend that the Caribbean, except for a few countries, has low coronavirus cases and this should be used to the region’s advantage, as a means to stimulate the respective economies.
“Though many countries are providing help packages for their citizens, many will not be able to keep it up for much longer as the government coffers have more going out than what is coming in. Something needs to be done to immediately address the high unemployment rates and movement of Caribbean people through the Caribbean safely can help,” he stated.
He continued: “Through the OECS heads of government apparatus; for example, our respective healthcare authorities could develop common testing protocols and other necessary protocols amongst themselves for people wishing to travel from one Caribbean country to the next. It can be done.”
New revenue needed
Walwyn said the respective countries in the region require a new revenue stream. He said the region’s individual economies will not thrive on internal money circulation alone.
“Each country needs new money injected. We can do this for each other. Guesthouses, car rentals, restaurants and other such businesses can benefit from this initiative,” he stated.
However, he said with the high number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, for example, extreme care should be used for international travel at this juncture.
Walwyn further said the region cannot afford to squander overall efforts of Caribbean nations in keeping COVID-19 cases low.
“Additionally, our healthcare systems may not be able to handle to a widespread of the disease. [So] we have to carefully manage the balance between health and the survival of the economy. Re-opening regional travel safely should be preferred over re-opening international travel,” he stated.
The former legislator also gave kudos to those countries, including the British Virgin Islands that were able to secure their borders early and have low or no active cases presently.
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