Governor John Rankin chaired Cabinet meetings on June 9 and June 16 at the Financial Services Commission’s Conference Room in Pasea. All members were present at both meetings. Many of the Covid-19-related decisions are now outdated because of changing restrictions due to the outbreak detected last week.

June 9

During the June 9 meeting, Cabinet took the following actions, according to a summary provided by the Cabinet Office.

1. Reviewed and considered the 2020 Annual Report for the Office of the director of public prosecutions and decided that it be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the House of Assembly.

2. Noted:

a. the first report of the agencies to update the Cabinet on the progress of the work done thus far in the implementation of a new visa handling process;

b. how the Border Management and e-Visa System (BMS) will benefit customers and the overall goal of the system; and

c. the next meeting of the agencies, which will be held in early June, will focus on the finalisation of the memorandum of understanding to clearly outline the parameters by which each agency will use or share data with the BMS; and that the discussion will also centre around the areas of responsibility and the best way forward to equipping these offices with the resources needed to ensure the success of the BMS.

3. Noted the outline of the work of the Sister Islands Programme Unit; the Protocol for Ministers/District Representatives and District Officers Interaction and the protocol for use of Sister Islands Appointed Vehicles.

4. Approved the re-opening of ports of entry: Sopers Hole Dock, West End; Dog Hole Dock, Jost Van Dyke; and St. Thomas Bay Dock, Virgin Gorda to receive fully vaccinated international travellers and crewmembers only by June 17; decided that all requisite government and statutory bodies work together to establish the Anegada seaport as an official port of entry to receive fully vaccinated travellers and crewmembers only; agreed and adjusted the entry protocols and portals to reflect the aforementioned decisions and noted:

a. that the Road Town seaport and Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport will continue to be the only ports of entry where non-vaccinated international travellers will be allowed to enter the territory; and

b. that domestic travellers will remain unaffected in their ability to use all ports.

5. Decided, in principle, that the Stamps, Souvenir Sheet and First Day Cover (Olympics 2021) Order, 2021 be issued; noted that approval of the designs will be sought from Buckingham Palace via the Royal Household Section in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office following Cabinet’s approval; and decided that the Ministry of Finance instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to prepare an order relative to the Olympics 2021: stamps, souvenir sheet and first day cover.

6. Noted the proposed draft of the Architects and Engineers Registration Act, which is intended to regulate the practice of architecture and engineering in the Virgin Islands; decided that the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities provide drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers to review and vet the proposed act, which was drafted in 2014; and noted that thereafter the ministry will submit the bill to the Cabinet for consideration and approval before being introduced in the House of Assembly for its first reading.

7. Decided to appoint the following members of the Allied Health Professionals Council for a period of three years with effect from June 7 in accordance with the Medical, Dental and Allied Health Practitioners Act, 2000, as amended (No. 23 of 2020): Dr. Michelle Martin, clinical psychologist; Lemeal Clyne, radiologic technologist; Saungie Liburd, medical laboratory scientist; Kimisha Wheatley-Jeffers, pharmacist; and Dr. Calisa Cruickshank, medical doctor.

8. Decided:

a. that effective June 15, fully vaccinated people traveling from overseas would require an RT-PCR test or approved rapid antigen test within five days of arrival and provide satisfactory evidence of being fully vaccinated;

b. that fully vaccinated travellers would no longer be subject to PCR testing upon arrival or quarantine requirements unless so ordered by a quarantine officer as a result of entry screening;

c. that effective June 15, partially vaccinated people travelling from overseas would be required to take a PCR test within five days of travel; to provide satisfactory evidence of being partially vaccinated; to take a PCR test or rapid antigen upon arrival (day zero); and to quarantine for four days;

d. that the Gateway administrative fee shall be reduced to no more than $35 for fully vaccinated travellers;

e. that flight and vessel crews who are fully vaccinated would no longer require biweekly screening testing but should self-monitor and report any symptoms of, or recent exposure to, Covid-19;

f. that a fixed penalty of $10,000 on summary conviction would be introduced for producing false documentation such as vaccination records, or Covid-19 test certificates; and

g. that the Ministry of Health and Social Development instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to draft the necessary amendments to the relevant legislation to give effect to the agreed policy changes.

9. Approved two non-belonger land holding licence applications.

June 16

1. Cabinet reviewed and accepted the Annual Report of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force for the year ending Dec. 31, 2019, and decided that the report be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the HOA.

2. Decided that pursuant to the Articles of Association of the National Bank of the Virgin Islands Limited, and subject to the approval of the Financial Services Commission, Dr. Drexel Glasgow’s appointment as non-executive director of the bank’s board of directors be renewed for two years with effect from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2023.

3. Reviewed and accepted the evaluation report submitted by the Central Tenders Board (CTB) Technical Evaluation Sub-Committee, which was approved by the CTB on May 19, 2021 and accepted the recommendation of the CTB to award Quality Construction Ltd. the contract for the replacement of the Frenchmans Cay Bridge in the amount of $315,753.04.

4. Approved the government entering into an agreement with the Commonwealth Secretariat for the migration to the debt management software “Commonwealth Meridian” which is to commence on July 1, 2021; noted that partial payment of the annual maintenance fee for the period July 2021 to June 2022 is in the sum of £9,000 and decided:

a. that the Ministry of Finance make provisional funding in the 2022 budget cycle in the sum of £18,000 to defray the cost of the annual maintenance fee for the period July 2022 to June 2023; and

b. that the Ministry of Finance instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to vet the draft agreement.

5. Reviewed and considered the Strategic Plan for North Coast Road Sea Defence Project and decided:

a. that the North Coast Sea Defence Project, being a project that is valued over $1 million and is proposed to include fractioning of the works, be procured and implemented in accordance with Clause 4.4.3(2) of the approved Policy on Procurement in Emergency, Disasters, Pandemics and Catastrophic Situations; and

b. that North Coast Road Sea Defence Project should be implemented with a series of petty contracts and major contracts in accordance with the Project Procurement Plan of the Strategic Plan.

This information was provided in a summary Gazetted on June 24.