Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster.ANGUILLA–Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster’s government has just completed its first month in office. In an interview on Radio Anguilla the premier outlined some of the issues and plans.He spoke of the need to get the economy going and the government’s plans to diversify. He said there are already plans to enhance the fishing industry with a fish-processing plant and long-line fishing vessels. He said plans must include marketing so that the industry will not only support the local market but bring in foreign capital. There are also plans to expand agriculture and encourage farmers to grow more crops so that imports can be cut. Webster said a Renewable Energy Committee has been established and the government is already talking to investors about the possibility of off-shore wind farms and solar energy.Webster noted the relationship with the UK is very positive and he has held several talks with Baroness Sugg, who has responsibility for the Overseas Territories. He thanked the UK government and the people of the UK for the 60 million pounds sterling grant and the EC $100 million grant to assist with unemployment due to COVID-19. He thanked Blondel Cluff for her services to Anguilla and said that Dorothea Hodge has agreed to be the UK representative for his government. She is already working on behalf of Anguilla, holding talks with the European Union concerning the continuation of funding.In connection with the opening of Anguilla’s borders, Webster said the government is setting up protocols for visitors from countries with less than two per cent prevalence of COVID-19. This will be for persons staying in villas at first and will involve testing before leaving their home country, testing on arrival in Anguilla and testing 10 or 14 days later. If there are three negative tests the visitor will be allowed to leave quarantine. Health officials will check such persons daily and if they don’t follow instructions, they will go into government quarantine. These visitors will pay for their own tests and for quarantine.Webster said he is anxious for all Anguillians overseas to be able to return home if they wish, but at the moment persons in the USA, the UK or the Dominican Republic cannot be repatriated. He noted that the limited medical facilities in Anguilla would be a problem if cases of COVID-19 were imported. More technical resources are needed in order for the health authorities to be able to care for more cases. He is hoping that this can be addressed in the near future.The premier is encouraging persons in Anguilla to maintain hygiene instructions and social distancing. He said that although Summer Festival has been cancelled, next week will be boat races and some other events. He said he is aware that people from St. Maarten/St. Martin may try to come to Anguilla, but the border controls by land, sea and air will be enforced. He said he is sorry about the necessity of this, but assures that Anguilla will be ready to welcome them in the future.Speaking about the financial situation, Webster said his government would ensure prudent use of funds and would be very vigilant going forward. Statutory bodies are being reviewed, some have been replaced fully, and the government is considering stipends instead of salaries for some of the boards. He stressed the importance of the boards being competent and including young and experienced people.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/premier-reports-after-one-month-in-office