Brothers and sisters good afternoon,
Notwithstanding the political campaign which is now afoot, I and my Cabinet remain committed to keeping our people safe as we continue to be vigilant in our fight against COVID-19.
I start by thanking Dr. Judy Nisbett and the COVID-19 Task Force in Nevis and our army of frontline workers who have thus far kept us safe. I am grateful to God for His Mercy to us. Through Him and the hard work of so many here, our island now has not had a confirmed COVID case since April 7, and all 4 cases have recovered in full. We have no tests outstanding and no persons in quarantine. I believe that our performance has been truly spectacular.
We are grateful that our stimulus package offered both at Federal and NIA [Nevis Island Administration] levels has helped many of our people. I am happy that so many have donated food, money and time to ensure that our people remain as comfortable as possible given the extraordinary exigencies of this COVID crisis. I am happy that our farmers and fishers have been helped so that our food security has been enhanced.
I am however aware of the continued hardships being experienced by our people. As we engage with our people, we have been listening, and so today I have been authorized by the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration to advise the following additional measures to provide further relief to our people.
We shall continue to distribute masks and hand sanitizers to every household. St. Paul’s has been covered and St Thomas’ will be done this weekend. The balance of masks arrive on Monday and we shall distribute to other parishes next week.
We have heard the cries of our non-national community, and so have agreed on an amnesty for non-nationals for 90 days and reduction on work permit fees from $2,500 to $1,000 and residency fees from $1,500 to $750 for the next 90 days. We invite our non-national community to take advantage of this concession during the 90-day window and regularize their status.
As our students and teachers move to online platforms for education over the next few months, we are aware that some families are upgrading their laptops and tablets and deciding to purchase this equipment abroad. To partner with them, the Cabinet has removed all duties, VAT [Value Added Tax] and service charge on laptops and tablets for the next 90 days.
Having worked with the Federal government to secure the reopening of our churches and places of worship and given the new protocols under which they have to now operate, the Nevis Cabinet will provide locally produced hand sanitizer and masks to all of our churches as they reopen their doors for the better safety of our church leaders and their congregation.
We urge Nevisians and residents alike to continue to be vigilant and to continue to take every precaution as we continue to ensure that our island remains COVID free.
Thank you and God bless you.