Governor John Rankin chaired an online special Cabinet meeting on July 5 and an online meeting on July 8. All members were present except Premier Andrew Fahie and Attorney General Dawn Smith, who were away on personal leave on July 5. Many of the pandemic-related restrictions listed below have expired or changed since they were issued and are no longer applicable.
During the July 5 meeting, Cabinet took the following actions, according to a summary provided by the Cabinet Office.
1. Noted the situation report presented by the Health Emergency Operations Centre and:
a. advised that in-person visits to and from Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut are restricted mandatorily effective July 6 for a period of 14 days in the first instance, with the exception of emergency situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit, subject to the contrary advice from the attorney general, and with the opportunity to be reviewed thereafter;
b. advised that all facilities that serve as residential establishments — namely, the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly; the Virgin Gorda Elderly Home; the Rainbow Children’s Home; the Safe Haven Transitional Centre; and private residential facilities — prohibit visits in and visits out effective July 6 for a period of 14 days in the first instance, with the exception of emergency situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit;
c. decided that all private and public schools (including pre-schools), child care centres, summer programmes, and extracurricular activities are mandated to cease in-person activities with effect from July 6 for 14 in the first instance, and subject to a review by the Cabinet after seven days;
d. provided that all external/regional examinations may continue to be administered at public and private schools with the approval the Ministry of Education, in consultation the chief environmental health officer and the chief medical officer;
e. decided that, except with the approval of the minister of health and social development, all businesses and/or workplaces be required to restrict numbers to a limit of up to 65 persons at a time, per location, subject to adequate social distancing protocols being maintained in accordance with guidance from the chief environmental health officer, with effect from July 6 for a period of 14 days in the first instance;
f. decided that social gatherings, including faith-based organisations, weddings and funerals, should be limited to 25 people at a time for a period of 14 days effective July 6 and subject to a review by the Cabinet after seven days; and noted that SI No. 61 of 2021 – Public Health (Covid-19 Control and Suppression Measures) (No. 3) (Amendment) (No. 5) Order, 2021 be amended accordingly;
g. decided that, except with the approval of the minister of health and social development, all ferries be required to restrict numbers to a limit of up to 65 people at a time, subject to adequate social distancing protocols being maintained in accordance with guidance from the chief environmental health officer, with effect from July 6 for a period of 14 days in the first instance;
h. decided that hairdressers, barbers, gyms, bars, clubs and entertainment establishments be closed; and that restaurants, for in-house dining, be limited to one person per 36 square feet to a maximum occupancy of 25 people, all inclusive of staff and patrons, with effect from July 6 for a period of 14 days in the first instance;
i. decided to test for Covid19 at least once per fortnight, or as advised by the chief medical officer, the employees of the following organisations: police, customs, immigration, prison, sea and airport authorities, and residential facilities as outlined in item (b) and other high vulnerability settings during high incidences of the disease in the territory, subject to contrary advice from the attorney general;
j. decided that, in addition to existing measures, all vaccinated people be subject to a rapid test upon arrival, effective July 12 at a fee of $50; and
k. decided that Cabinet advise the National Security Council to instruct the attorney general to draft a new curfew order to implement a curfew from July 6 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a period of 14 days in the first instance.
During the July 8 meeting, Cabinet took the following actions, according to the summary provided by the Cabinet Office.
1. Noted the policy document that outlines the monitoring and evaluation phases of the collection of data from the recipients of the Covid-19 Economic Stimulus Programmes that were implemented by the Premier’s Office.
2. Noted that:
a. the rehabilitation of the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex is an ongoing major undertaking by the government in order to restore the facility and make it ready for full occupancy in the near future;
b. initial demolition works and disposal of the waste material from the west wing of the complex have been undertaken at a cost of $107,185.39, and there is approximately $51,023.50 worth of remaining demolition works on the same wing, for a total west wing demolition of $158,208.89; and noted the demolition works for the east wing of the complex are estimated to cost $195,036.44. Decided that:
c. the outstanding demolition works of office spaces, corridors and ceilings in the complex, exclusive of the basement, which requires professional services, be executed using the procurement procedures provided for under the policy on Procurement in Emergency, Disaster, Pandemic and Catastrophic Situations as it will assist in keeping the local economy stimulated; and
d. the demolition works approved in decision (c) are not to exceed the sum of $246,059.94 and are to be expended via a blend of petty contracts and work orders only.
3. Considered and approved the consultancy of ministerial political advisers, similar to the model used in the United Kingdom, where the premier would be assigned no more than three ministerial political advisers and each other Cabinet minister and junior minister would be assigned no more than one ministerial political adviser; reviewed and decided on the terms of reference for the ministerial political adviser to include research and analysis, assisting in speech writing for the minister, and other areas as outlined in the job description. Decided that:
a. the tenure of each ministerial political adviser, who will be hired as an independent contractor, to be the same as the tenure of the minister to whom they are assigned;
b. each ministerial political adviser be subject to all public service laws, regulations and policies during their tenure, save and except where research, advice and other support to the minister may incorporate political considerations into their analysis, advice, speech writing and so on in a manner that would not be permissible for a permanent public officer;
c. ministerial political advisers would be required to adhere to the code of conduct for ministerial political advisers;
d. an Integrity Committee for ministerial political advisers shall be set up that will include the permanent secretary in the Premier’s Office as chair; the permanent secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office; and one of the four other permanent secretaries in rotation each year;
e. ministerial political advisers would be required to declare any private interests that they may hold in any matter that may be deemed relevant to their work, upon assumption of duties and periodically as circumstances may require, and this disclosure shall be made by letter to the appointing minister and copied to the permanent secretary in the Premier’s Office as chair of the Integrity Committee for Ministerial Political Advisers and to the premier;
f. the Integrity Committee for Ministerial Political Advisers would have the authority to call and question ministerial political advisers on their adherence to the Code of Conduct for Ministerial Political Advisers or matters of conflicts of interests, and that the committee may submit a report to the premier for his or her consideration;
g. that each adviser’s contract will not exceed $120,000 per annum in accordance with the established pay bands;
h. each contract for each ministerial political adviser does not cover gratuity payments, annual leave and sick leave;
i. each ministry will allocate payment of remuneration for ministerial political advisers under its consultancy vote, and payments for the ministerial political advisers to junior ministers will be borne from the consultancy vote of the Premier’s Office; and
j. the tender process will be waived to allow ministerial political advisers to be contracted for any tenure that allows the cumulative compensation to be no more than $120,000 per annum.
4. Approved the recommendations of the BVI Scholarship Committee for the award of government scholarships to 52 applicants to pursue studies for the period fall 2021 through spring 2022.
5. Approved “a number of ” Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence applications and a compensation for encroachment to private property for use as a public road.
This information was provided in a summary Gazetted on July 22.