Governor John Rankin chaired a Cabinet meeting on April 13 at the Financial Services Commission’s Resource Centre. All members were present and took the following actions, according to a summary published in the Gazette last Thursday.
1. Received and endorsed: a. the Transformation Plans for the Office of the Deputy Governor and the Ministry of Health and Social Development in line with the following Public Service Transformation Programme priorities: customer service; improved performance; digitisation; good governance; change and collaboration; security; innovative thinking and doing; and adaptation and greening; b. the top five initiatives for the Deputy Governor’s Office: enact the governance legislation as defined in the Speech from the Throne; establish customer service standards for the public service and implement activities to support their implementation; complete the service-wide compensation review; strengthen IT systems to support human resources management, court operations and the e-government approach; and enhance the HR management and public estate management programme to increase efficiency and productivity; c. the top five initiatives for the Ministry of Health and Social Development: social protection information system; sustainable, integrated waste management strategy (waste reduction, reuse, recycling, sanitary disposal); collaboration across ministries to implement the National Action Plan against the Covid-19 Pandemic; a “next generation 911 centre; and modern prison infrastructure; d. decided that the funding required for the implementation of the HSD Ministry’s plan be considered via the reprioritisation of the ministry’s budget (current and future) or if necessary, through a schedule of additional provisions based on the availability of funds.
2. Reviewed the Annual Report of the Office of the Deputy Governor for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021 and decided that the report be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the House of Assembly.
3. Reviewed the Annual Report of the Governor’s Office for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021 and decided that the report be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the HOA.
4. Approved the exemption of duty for Arringdell Creque of Agri-Paradise VG Ltd. on equipment for crop production in a greenhouse with a value of $1,303.20 in accordance with Section 54(3) of the Customs Management and Duties Act, 2010 as amended, Schedule 5, Paragraph 13(1), and noted that Mr. Creque is eligible to receive this exemption of duty as a registered farmer in the business of agriculture in accordance with the requirement of the Customs Management and Duties Act, 2010 as amended, Schedule 5, Paragraph 13(1).
5. Considered an amendment to Schedule 4 of the Customs Management and Duties Act, 2010; approved an order to amend Schedule 4 of the act; and decided that the order be published in the Gazette upon approval and laid on the table of the HOA at its next convenient sitting.
6. Decided that the formal tender process be waived for the provision of “integrated communications support” to continue to rebuild and promote the brand and reputation of the Virgin Islands in the international market in respect of the four-month extension granted to the Commission of Inquiry; that a new contract be entered into with Maitland Consultancy for a period of five months with effect from Jan. 1 to May 31, 2022 for an amount not to exceed $750,000 for five months; and that funding in the amount of $1,189,786.29 be approved via a schedule of additional provision at the earliest sitting of the HOA to replenish the marketing and advertising subhead and cover other expenses for the remainder of 2022.
7. Decided: a. that the following people be appointed as members of the Medical and Dental Council in accordance with Schedule 1 section 3(1) of the Medical Act, 2000 for a period of two years with effect from April 7, 2022: Dr. Elson Vanterpool (minister’s nominee as a medical practitioner; Dr. Craig Stoutt (Medical Association’s nominee as a medical practitioner); and Stacy Lloyd (minister’s nominee as a “fit and proper person”); and b. that Dr. Nikki Rubaine (dental practitioner) be reappointed as a member of the Medical and Dental Council for a period of three years with effect from April 27, 2022.
8. Noted that the draft National Emergency Relief Policy was revised to incorporate the lessons learnt from the 2017 disasters; approved the draft National Emergency Relief Policy; and decided that the document be laid on the table in the HOA at the next convenient sitting.
9. Approved the draft Foster Care Procedural Manual to be used to guide in the foster care process.
10. Decided that: a. effective April 15, fully vaccinated people travelling from overseas would require a rapid antigen test on arrival provided they do not have satisfactory evidence of an rt-PCR test or an approved antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival in the territory; b. effective April 15, partially vaccinated people travelling from overseas will require a rt-PCR test within five days of travel; will require satisfactory evidence of being partially vaccinated; will be administered a rapid antigen test on arrival; will be cleared for release to roam freely, provided the test is negative; and will still be required to register through the BVI Gateway portal; c. effective April 15, unvaccinated people travelling from overseas will require a rt-PCR test within five days of travel; will be administered a rapid antigen test on arrival; will be cleared for release to roam freely, provided the test is negative; and will still be required to register through the BVI Gateway portal; d. subject to amendment made in the relevant legislation, the requirement of face masks/coverings by all individuals over age 5 be allowed as a matter of choice in outdoor public spaces, and when in an indoor public space masks remain mandatory when within three feet of other people; e. the one-person-per-ninesquare-feet requirement in the Public Health (Covid-19 Control and Suppression Measures) Order be removed; and f. the HSD Ministry instructs the attorney general to draft the necessary amendments to the Covid-19 Control and Suppression (Entry of Persons) Regulations and the Public Health (Covid-19 Control and Suppression Measures) Order, which would give effect to the agreed policy changes as noted in items (a) to (e).