It’s very commendable that many people, from the premier down, are encouraging reluctant folks to take the vaccine. However, it is not helpful to “threaten” that unused doses approaching their expiry date will be sent back.

Have you ever heard of a pharmacy, for instance, taking back unused medications unless they have a disposal policy? I doubt it. If we return them to the United Kingdom, they will think that we have had a national breakdown, and our chances of further aid for any eventuality will fade away.

As for those who are reluctant to have the vaccine or want a choice of other manufacturers, how would they propose to obtain them? The AstraZeneca vaccine came free, but we would have to buy other makes, and our order size would be minuscule, and expensive, even supposing suppliers would contemplate such a small order. As someone who lost a brother to Covid-19 exactly a year ago, I can tell you that any minimal effects from the vaccine are far easier to cope with than the possible consequences of hospitalisation, intensive care unit admittance, ventilation and death. So don’t procrastinate: vaccinate.

 

International ferries

The first international ferries should have arrived yesterday, and we have yet to see how that works. The domestic ferries will have moved over to the pier park, which by several accounts causes some logistical problems. I am concerned what happens on the day we have a cruise ship in? If domestic travellers are not vaccinated, how will they be kept apart from the vaccinated cruise ship passengers?

On the basis of cruise ships coming (actually one cruise ship), the premier has said the territory will be fully open in June. That statement will cause cheer to many would-be visitors. But, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, it looks like we will be getting a total of six calls by one cruise ship out of St. Martin, with reduced capacity and probably in a sterile bubble precluding mixing with residents. If that is the case, the only benefit to our economy will be the government head tax and a few taxi drivers. We know of no plan after August to continue ships calling. And there are no apparent plans to open ports to other than ferries.

 

Premier’s speaking

Unfortunately, our premier seems to let his thoughts get away with him when public speaking. On any subject he tends to go on and on, getting further into controversial aspects. He should learn that less is more.

I have said in the past that we live almost in a state of anarchy. Laws and measures are passed without due thought or consultation. Whilst it is true that most government fees and taxes have not been raised for 25 years or more, it is unrealistic of the public not to expect rises, and also unrealistic of government to make massive increases at one time without due thought.

Take the recent back down on port fees increases. Cabinet agreed that fees needed to be increased and instructed the BVI Ports Authority to consult with interested parties before making any changes. Ports did not do this, but suddenly produced a schedule of new fees

which were laid on the table of the House of Assembly and agreed by all House members without dissent.

Of course, when the increases were publicly announced, there were howls of dissent from importers. Ever wary of his support base, the premier, despite saying that BVIPA is a self-governing body, instructed that the increases be delayed. Matters were complicated by over-staffing, low pay, loss of income, and the requirement to upgrade the port facilities to meet international standards.

At one point, we were told that the extra income was needed to make improvements for an international inspection next month! That seems unlikely. The head of the ports and the premier appear to have lost confidence in each other, and one of them should go. Over the years, there have been many similar forced backdowns. Meanwhile, we fiddle about with

all sorts of fiddly taxes on visitors which make their stay even more expensive than the cost of actually getting here.

We all love a sale, so a big up to CTL and Rite Way for offering a discount to customers able to prove they have had the vaccine.

 

Online comments

And finally, a brickbat to those online news sites allowing such disgusting comments to be published regarding the death of the duke of Edinburgh.


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