ANGUILLA–During this week the government of Anguilla is holding economic development sessions with various stakeholders to discuss future plans for the island and the opening of its borders. Separate meetings are scheduled with hotels and villa owners; restaurant and bar owners; persons involved in fishing and agriculture; retail stores and salons; transportation and tour operators; and persons involved in culture and entertainment.
The first meeting was held on Monday with villa and hotel owners and Premier Victor Banks noted that the accommodation sector is what drives the other sectors on the island. He said it is two months since the borders were closed and there have been no active cases of COVID-19 for seven weeks. He said, “Having no cases does not put food on the table,” noting that there must be a balance between containment of the virus and restoration of the economy.
Banks said the mode of access to the island and the protocol for allowing residents and visitors back to Anguilla have to be worked out. He said it is a case of “testing, tracing and treatment” and there must be a number of pre-conditions to opening the borders. He stressed that there would be risks involved but the most important thing was keeping the people safe.
Minister of Social Development Evans McNiel Rogers said there must be a measured approach, but that Anguilla would have positive cases and the island had to be prepared for this with its limited facilities and health care personnel. He said once there was a first case all contacts would have to be quarantined. There are good preparations for testing and Anguilla has the necessary equipment. Kits are in short supply worldwide but plans are in place to receive kits from the UK on a regular basis.
Banks said the first people to return to the island would be students who have been studying overseas, persons who have been receiving medical treatment overseas, and investors. This exercise will highlight what is needed and how further to proceed when the borders are fully open.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/anguilla-government-holding-economic-development-sessions