BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — After much deliberation, the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020, was successfully passed in the Federal Parliament on November 17.
The Bill is to provide for public health and other interventions to prevent, control, and suppress the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and for related matters.
Attorney-General and Chairman of the Disaster Mitigation Council in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, who led the debate on the Bill, said the Bill is critically important and is intended to ensure a more permanent solution to public safety.
“…We seek to establish a vulnerable framework that would continue to fortify our defences in the face of the clear and present danger of a common enemy,” said the Attorney General. “We will also continue to explore creative ways in which to stimulate the economy to assist the destitute, and to regulate our affairs in such a way we continue to promote stability within this country.”
Minister Byron said the Government is exercising common decency to protect the general public and the citizens and residents should do the same and adhere to health and safety protocols.
“Mr. Speaker, it is common decency why we should wear a mask to protect others from being contaminated by too close personal contact,” said Hon. Byron. It is common decency to regulate public behaviour during dangerous times; it is common decency to quarantine those who have been exposed and it is common decency to isolate those who have been infected.”
The Attorney-General stated that the country has to remain vigilant.
“Mr. Speaker, although we are standard aggregate that is holding back the onslaught there is no guarantee that we will be able to stand the tide of the contagion,” he said. “What we can do, however, is to continue to be vigilant and to not grow weary in doing what is necessary to keep this nation safe.
“Mr. Speaker, the threat is not over and this peculiar season we need to brace ourselves, pray for the best, and also pray to be prepared for the worst. If we must tie our belts, then we will tie our belts together. If we must restrict our movements, then we do so with the conviction that this is what must be done to protect our country, ourselves and each other.”
The COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020, received its first reading in the National Assembly on October 15.