The Team Unity Administration has successfully managed the Covid-19 situation as a result of its proactive approach and will not allow the gains made to be reversed by allowing in thousands of persons into the country ostensibly to vote in the June 5 General Election.
Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Timothy Harris, while addressing a highly successful Team Unity virtual campaign meeting on Wednesday May 27 told the nation that closure of borders was a standard response everywhere in the world to protect people and save their lives.
“Every country, by and large, has had to do what we are doing,” said Dr Harris. “The only difference is that we are doing it better here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
But the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is heading to the courts to seek a declaration that the State of Emergency Resolutions published by the Government on 18th April and 13th May 2020 are “unconstitutional, and thus, null, void and of no effect as it was passed contrary to the section 19(7) of the Constitution.”
Party officials claim the resolution was passed contrary to the section 19(7) of the Constitution, which requires a specific period to be stated.
“In addition, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Representatives have asked the Court to declare that the COVID-19 Emergency Regulations published by the Government on 8th May are unlawful, disproportionately restrictive, and discriminatory against the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and its supporters.
“These laws enacted by the Harris Administration violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, and were made purely for the purpose of limiting the said rights and freedoms of the Opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and its supporters, in an attempt to give an unfair advantage to the Government in the upcoming Parliamentary Elections.”
For his part Dr. Harris wondered why opposition leaders want to destroy all the gains St. Kitts and Nevis has made as a country and force the government to go backwards to lockdown the country again.
“We have started in a managed way to open up our country from two days of relaxed operations, to four days of shopping in town, to five days of shopping in town, (and now) seven days the country is open up,” observed the Honourable Prime Minister. “All of that disciplined action; all of that competent work by our health professionals; our NEOC – all of this could be scandalised and brought to naught if we were to follow the advice of those desperados from the past.”
According to Prime Minister Harris, the opposition want the country opened up, and let persons from the hotspots such as New York, Miami, New Jersey, from England, Italy and other places wherever they are, and allow them to come because they have a plan for them. He added that it is okay for the opposition to have a plan for them.
“So what about the plan for those of us who are living here in St. Kitts and Nevis?” Dr Harris posed. “What about us? Don’t we deserve to be free from Covid-19? Don’t we deserve to protect our health system from being overwhelmed? Don’t we deserve to ensure that the limited resources of the government are not being spent to hold people keep and them for fourteen days, do test, do this, and do that?”
The Emergency Powers (Covid-19) Regulations, 2020, were put in place on the advice of the health professionals, and Prime Minister Harris stressed that Government will not be in any rush to remove them because its first job is to keep the people in the country safe.
While the government had prepared three hospitals to counter any negative effects of the pandemic to the population, the country has successfully managed to keep the people healthy as no one has died and no one is presently hospitalised. He praised the selfless work being done by the medical professionals.
“We expended nearly $25 million to buttress our health sector, not just for Covid-19 but for the future,” said Prime Minister Harris. “We, as we are speaking, have already negotiated for brand new cardiac centre to be established at the Joseph N. France Hospital to deal with all the complications of heart care in St. Kitts and Nevis. We have been looking to the future, and we have built out a health sector now that is second to none.”
He expressed regret that while Government was doing all that, the opposition was focusing on exposing people to danger. He wondered why they are not taking care and consideration for the people and their families when they push Government to allow thousands of people in by air or by sea. What Government is doing is based on World Health Organisation and CARPHA guidelines, and it has implemented a policy that has worked for the people.
“So tonight I say that the Team Unity Government will never apologise for protecting the health and safety of our people,” said Prime Minister Harris. “We have been and we will continue to adhere to the World Health Organisation’s guidelines. Our Team Unity Government acted early on the coronavirus and there is no doubt that proactive actions by restricting travellers, imposing quarantine, and isolation, and closing our borders is what has saved lives in St. Kitts and Nevis.”