Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism, making his presentation at the first COVID-19 sensitization training session, hosted by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Health on July 27.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Learning to function in a new normal is critical for the island’s tourism industry, the island’s main economic driver, according to Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism.

Hon. Brantley was delivering remarks July 27 at the start of training on COVID -19, to sensitize tourism sector workers on Nevis. The sessions are being hosted by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) and the Ministry of Health, in preparation for the reopening of the Federation’s borders.

“COVID however, is not just a health crisis; COVID also presents an economic crisis,” said Brantley. “As a consequence we now have to fashion ideas and approaches that will allow Nevis to reopen, and allow the people of Nevis once again to earn…Therefore, it is important that we now come up with approaches that will allow the island of Nevis to once again get back to work.

“It is important that those of you who are on the frontlines, have the opportunity to hear from the experts what is expected of you, what the new protocols are going to look like and what our new normal is going to be on the island of Nevis,. he said.”

The Tourism Minister, who is also the Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration, stated that the island’s economy has suffered as a result of COVID-19.

“We recognize that it has been very difficult,” said Brantley. “It has been difficult for us. It has been difficult for you who have obviously suffered and continue to suffer. It is difficult for the island and difficult even for the government because absent the tourism industry, absent the hotels being open. We as a government have not been able to earn because we are not getting taxes that we would ordinarily get from the consumption that tourists bring, and so all of us are in this together.”

Over the next two weeks, more than 1,000 employees in the tourism sector will be sensitised to the COVID-19 pandemic situation as mandated by the COVID-19 Task Force.

Brantley told the participants that the training sessions are designed to equip them with the necessary tools they would need on return to their various places of work.

“The idea is that you know what to expect because we have to keep each other safe….We have to do all that we can to ensure that our people remain safe but at the same time,” said Brantley. “We have now to do what we can to ensure that our people can earn, and that our people can get back to work so that they can take care of their responsibilities, and that is the balance we are trying to strike.

“We want to balance health and wellness and safety of our people and we want to balance the ability of the same people to go out and earn a living,” he concluded.