BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 18, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020, which was passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 17, is an important instrument that will continue to ensure the overall safety of citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Bill provides for public health and other interventions to prevent, control and suppress the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and for related matters.
Lending his support to the critical piece of legislation during Tuesday’s debate, Prime Minister Harris noted that, “Over the last couple of months we have had time to see what can work and will work; we have had time to look at the experiences of other countries to determine what are the best practices and we have been able now to codify a number of them in terms of a Bill carrying the short title of the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020.”
The prime minister said the formulation of the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020, was informed by science, the advice of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and health experts here in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Harris added that the mandate of his Team Unity-led Administration has and will always be to protect and preserve lives. The honourable prime minister said this is exactly what the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2020, is designed to achieve.
“We have a ‘life first’ strategy. Whatever the arguments others were making, we remained clear that the first priority of the Government, in and outside of an emergency, must be the safety and security of its people and its residents. Anything else a government can avoid, but a government must never shirk from the fundamental responsibility to protect the citizens and residents within its jurisdiction, and in the context of the pandemic we lived that reality and we were able to do so through all the iterations of the SROs that came out of the Emergency Powers,” the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Harris also used his presentation to commend the people of St. Kitts and Nevis for adding to the Federation’s successful management and containment of the COVID-19.
“I had to rise Mr. Speaker to commend the leadership of all in the health sector, in security and all the other areas of Government such as Customs, Immigration – in fact, it has been an all of society approach. I want to commend, as Senator Phipps did, the work of the church for their compliance, their early response and adoption of protocols that have helped keep our country safe,” the prime minister said.
Up to present time, the Federation has recorded only 19 COVID-19 cases, all of which have fully recovered. There have also been zero deaths in St. Kitts and Nevis as a result of the deadly virus.