Acting Governor David Archer Jr. chaired a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 1 at the Financial Services Commission’s Conference Room in Pasea in the absence of Governor John Rankin, who was overseas on private business. All members were present, and Cabinet took the following actions, according to a summary the Cabinet Office published in the Gazette on Sept. 16.

1. Decided:

a. to amend Statutory Instrument No. 67 of 2021 Covid-19 Control and Suppression (Entry of Persons) (No. 3) (Amendment) of June 12 to remove the requirement for rapid testing for fully vaccinated cruise ship passengers and crew visiting the territory for less than 24 hours, subject to enhanced Covid-19 protocols, including passenger bubbles and enhanced Covid-19 monitoring and enforcement;

b. to assign a task force headed by the director the BVI Tourist Board to develop, implement and enforce a Cruise Ship Bubble Operation Plan and to report its contents to the Cabinet in one week;

c. that cruise ships that subject fully vaccinated passengers and crew to rapid tests within 24 hours of arrival would not be subjected to the bubble protocol and would be allowed to move freely within the territory;

d. that cruise ship passengers wishing not to be a part of the bubble and wishing to be allowed to move freely within the territory will be subject to an approved rapid test with results available within five minutes;

e. that all cruise ships prior to entering the VI and being cleared to berth in the territory must report any passengers on board who are ill, especially with Covid-19 symptoms, or have tested positive prior to arrival;

f. that the BVI Ports Authority, BVI Tourist Board, Taxi and Livery Commission, Environmental Health Division, and other government agencies be tasked to ensure that all government protocols are followed by all disembarking passengers, taxi operators, and business operators, especially those at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park;

g. that the BVI Tourist Board, in collaboration with the BVI Ports Authority, develop and implement a vigorous public relations campaign to heighten the vigilance of the public and to keep them informed; and

h. that every two weeks from the arrival of the first cruise ship during the restart of the cruise ship season, all taxi operators, businesses and government agencies that interact with the passengers and crew of the ships who participated in the bubble or free-flow will undergo a rapid test, the cost of which shall be borne by the government, as a pilot for a period of three months in an attempt to secure the safety of residents while balancing lives and livelihoods.

2. Noted the National Sustainable Development Plan for the Virgin Islands – Progress Report, which covers the period December 2020 to July 2021.

3. Reviewed and accepted the National Bank of the VI Limited Annual Report and the Audited Financial Statements for the year ending 2019; decided that the report and statements be tabled at the next convenient sitting of the House of Assembly in accordance with Section 39 (2)(a) of the Development Bank of the VI Act (Cap. 100); and decided that both documents be published in the Gazette in accordance with Section 39 (2)(b) of the act.

4. Approved the variation of the existing agreement between the government and Blok Marine Construction for the design and construction of the dock at Red Bay, East End in the amount of $175,000 as a result of price inflation, change to the scope of works, and term.

5. Approved “a number of ” non-belonger land holding licence applications.