HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of June 30, 2021
The Cabinet met both face-to-face and virtually, all members present.
- The Cabinet held a long and intense discussion regarding several issues bearing on Covid-19: the Florida rule regarding allowing non-vaccinated people to board cruise ships bound for the Caribbean; the new, more transmissible Delta strain of the virus; the current dashboard which attests to outstandingly successful policies; the likely infections that will afflict residents of Antigua and Barbuda will occur because the vulnerable fail to make use of the vaccine program; and, the evidence clearly shows that visiting tourists have been a negligible source of the virus in Antigua, and that returning residents and nationals have been the major source of imported infections in Antigua and Barbuda.
1.i. The Cabinet discussed several sensible responses to the Florida rule which forbids the cruise vessels from enquiring into the vaccine status of those who board cruise ships in Florida. The rule therefore forbids the cruise lines from segregating vaccinated from un-vaccinated passengers heading to our Caribbean shores. Following intense discussions and after examining the alternatives, the Cabinet agreed that the best defense by Antigua is to ensure that all those officials and employees of shops and restaurants, vendors and drivers, and the multiple others with whom the cruise passengers are likely to come into contact, will have to be vaccinated, properly masked, and ready to receive the visitors.
A zoom meeting with the various associations (including the Merchants, the Taxi Drivers, the Vendors, the Tour Operators) and a select number of Cabinet members will take place next Monday, July 5 2021. Confining the un-vaccinated to the cruise ships will not be possible, since the passengers are likely to be untruthful when asked if they are vaccinated upon disembarking. What applies at the airport cannot be reasonably duplicated at the seaport, it was agreed. Cabinet repeated and intensified its call to all adults in Antigua and Barbuda to get the vaccine, now in plentiful supply.
1.ii. The Cabinet repeated its long-held view that the novel coronavirus and its many strains will become endemic, and that all of us who reside in Antigua and Barbuda will have to learn to live with the Covid-19 virus which will be always present. The Delta strain, which is more easily transmissible than the original Wuhan strain, can be protected-against by taking both shots of the available vaccine.
Although not yet in Antigua and Barbuda, the Delta strain will reach our shores; it behooves all adults to be vaccinated. Other vaccines are being tested on children and, when approved, will also be administered to prevent their hospitalization and even possible death of youth. Each vaccinated, All protected, goes the adage.
1.iii. The Cabinet applauded the Minister of Health, health care workers to include doctors, nurses, orderlies, emergency technicians, law enforcement and the military for the marvellous jobs which they have each done in getting the nation to zero new infections during the past three-week period. The results are evidence of successful policies, fashioned by the Cabinet with the help of experts, and carried forward by the phalanx of workers who have worked tirelessly to implement the announced policies.
The denial of the use of the beaches on holidays, the social distancing guidelines, the frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, and the enforced mask-wearing have protected the population from infections; the limitations once imposed on church-going, funerals and weddings, have made Antigua and Barbuda a safer place for the residents and visitors alike. However, it takes only one infected person to cause a super-spreader event. Cabinet reminds that those who are vaccinated are not likely to become so ill that they will require hospitalization, and may even face death. Get vaccinated, the Cabinet urges.
1.iv. The Cabinet strongly disagrees with the doctor who publicly stated that the imported infections came from visiting tourists, and not from the returning nationals and residents. The evidence garnered from contact-tracing clearly shows the origin of the vast majority of imported infections came from those whose levels of intimacy are greater than the visiting tourists.
Too many residents and returning nationals who were placed in quarantine were seen walking the streets, visiting banks and supermarkets, and otherwise mixing freely when they were ordered isolated or quarantined. The vexing assertion that tourists were free to roam but returning nationals were frequently confined has already been discussed fully; the levels of intimacy between those who are resident and those tourists who are entering Antigua differ, requiring a commonsense approach that is based on logic, the Cabinet asserts. The test of the correctness of this policy is manifested in the end results showing no new infections or hospitalizations in the past three weeks.
1.v. The Cabinet has agreed to extend the weekly raffle by 8 weeks or through to the end of August 2021. Each week, during the 8 week period, those who have taken their first and second doses of vaccines will have their names entered into a raffle for $5,000.
The Cabinet is giving consideration to offering a second plot of land in the Judges Hill area to those who choose to be vaccinated in the ensuing weeks; a final decision is yet forthcoming. The first parcel is to be raffled next week after the auditors examine the records .The Cabinet encourages businesses, as well, to offer incentives to their employees in order to ensure a wide array of vaccinated men and women/workers throughout the state.
1.vi. The Cabinet agreed that events/fetes planned for next month and in August 2021 can be approved by Cabinet only, and that the events are to be so spaced as to allow for the officials to make their assessments before another event is given the green light.
Although a long lead-time is required to advertise and plan each fete, the human component in managing the event properly, in order to avoid spreading any strain of the Covid-19 virus, must also be taken into account, the Cabinet agreed.
1.vii. The Cabinet welcomed the news emanating from Barbados that it will establish a regional travel bubble. Given the presence of the US Embassy and Consulate in Barbados, that decision would mean that Antiguans and Barbudans who seek to acquire U.S. visas would not be required to quarantine, but would be permitted to enter into Barbados and to conduct their business immediately upon landing. Those visiting Barbados would still be required to present evidence of a negative PCR Test within 3 days of arrival.
In that regard, the Cabinet concluded that Antigua and Barbuda does not currently exclude citizens from any country to enter; those entering are required to show evidence of a negative PCR Test that is no more than 7 days old. Those who are fully vaccinated may proceed to their hotels or homes but under certain conditions before another PCR test is required. A de facto bubble can be said to exist in Antigua and Barbuda.
2.i. The Cabinet held a zoom meeting with two United Nations officials concerning domestic or gender-based violence. The officials discussed prevention strategies since only a small number of events are ever reported to the Police. The UN officials also discussed the “No-Drop” prosecution, which allows prosecution even if the complainant refuses to testify later; the rule currently exists in states within the USA, in Provinces in Canada, in Australia and in the Nordic countries.
The Attorney General has indicated that Antigua and Barbuda will likely adopt this “No Drop” rule in order to save lives since death, at the hands of violent males, has been recorded recently by women who refused to testify after earlier events leading to the final act of violence. The establishment of safe houses, a sixteen week behavioral program for violent males, and other mind-changing training have been proposed. The officials are not in favour of increasing the punishment as a remedy; they believe that support systems are a superior choice. A discussion also followed on how to integrate technology in this search for solutions.
2.ii. The Cabinet agreed to make a contribution towards the burial of Ms. Cynthia Henry who was killed by a violent male. The Cabinet further agreed to provide her son with a scholarship. The Cabinet continues to express condolences to her family, especially her mother, her co-workers at the Passport Division, and her many friends who are pained by this undeserved death.
- The Attorney General addressed the responses to be implemented by the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force following several armed robberies which took place in broad daylight in St. John’s. A greater police presence is planned, including police on bicycles, more foot patrols within the center of commerce, and police cars with beacons going that silently announce their presence. More stop-and-search events will be carried out of those who may conceal unlicensed firearms in their backpacks and on their persons. The Cabinet applauded the Attorney General for showing strong leadership in fighting this emerging scourge.
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The cabinet applauded the AG ?
DEATH BY VIOLENT MALES HAS BEEN RECORDED RECENTLY SO THEY MIGHT ADOPT THE NO DROP RULE . This is AG is as lazy as he looks .
The NO DROP rule has been around FOR YEARS AND HE MIGHT CHECK IT OUT NOW WHAT A BUFFOON. God knows how many lives might be alive today SHOW THIS GUY A BUFFET BECAUSE THAT MIGHT THE ONLY THING HE HAS GOOD VISION AT.
Why not also organize some raffle for those that took the vaccine up front?
All decisions of the septic tank gang are based on how much money they can get their filthy leech hands on irregardless of our people’s well being.
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