Governor Augustus Jaspert said the United Kingdom will be assisting its Overseas Territories (OTs) based on their plans to reduce the economic impact brought on by the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The Governor said the United Kingdom is currently holding talks with the heads of the various OTs and made a formal request this month “for detailed information” on the OTs strategies going forward.
“As fiscal management and social security are responsibilities of the BVI government, the UK Government needs to consider the request made on Friday in the context of our own BVI Government plans,” he said via a statement on Monday.
Cabinet working on plan
The Governor said Cabinet is currently undertaking ‘urgent assessment’ of public finances and collating new measures “including what assistance will be available to individuals and business.”
“We need to recognise that we are starting from a strong position in the British Virgin Islands. We have healthy reserves, and the Social Security Board Fund is very robust. Citizens are cooperating well with the current ‘lockdown’ – one of the measures our government has taken in an effort to slow the spread of the virus in the territory,” he said.
UK stands with BVI
In the meantime, Governor Jaspert sought to make it clear that the UK “stands” with the people of the territory and has already played its part in providing assistance to the territory in its fight against COVID-19.
“Since the outbreak of the virus, experts from the UK’s public health organisation have provided remote support to BVI via regular teleconferences to discuss disease management techniques and medical equipment. Later this week, I expect the first batch of testing kits (480 tests) to arrive in the territory — more than doubling our current testing capacity. This will be the first of many packages of equipment from the UK,” he said.
Governor Jaspert then placed on record his intent to “lobby for more on behalf of the people of the British Virgin Islands,” from the motherland.
Just last Fridaay, Premier Andrew Fahie said he would be seeking financial assistance from the UK to assist residents across the territory who have become jobless overnight due to the COVID-19.
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