Grenada PM says regional leaders agreed to open borders first week in June; PM Harris: “to do so will bring much pain”

By Erasmus Williams

Cover Photo: Photo 1 – Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada

Basseterre, St Kitts, May 12, 2020 – Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell has disclosed that CARICOM and OECS leaders have collectively agreed to gradually relaxing the restrictions for travel and to open their borders once all the requisite protocols are in place.

In a national broadcast to the Nation on May 10, the Grenada Prime Minister said the decision was taken at the recent meetings of Heads of Government of the OECS and CARICOM and that Grenada could open its borders the first week in June.

In St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Harris said on May 9, “there is no rush to open its borders” as opening prematurely “will bring much pain.”

“As many await the re-opening of our external borders, I hasten to say that while this is imminent, we are not there yet. Borders were closed to prevent the spread of the virus and to save lives, and for now, we must maintain that status quo. At the most recent meetings of CARICOM and OECS leaders, we collectively agreed to start gradually relaxing the restrictions for travel, as the pandemic in the region has been largely contained,” said Prime Minister Mitchell.

He added: “Governments, airlines and hotels are now finalising the details of this phased re-opening. Assuming that the requisite protocols are in place, we expect to open our borders in the first week of June. I assure you, fellow Grenadians, we will not move unless we are satisfied that adequate health and safety guidelines are in place.”

In St Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Harris is quoted on the weekend in a news release from his office as explaining why there is no rush to reopen St. Kitts and Nevis’ borders to non-essential traffic.

“Opening our borders prematurely would put at risk all our collective efforts to date and will bring much pain” and quoted Dr Harris as stating on April 25, that “there are no immediate plans to unlock our borders other than in the measured way that we have allowed them to operate.”

On May 10, Junior Minister of Health, said all entry ports into St. Kitts and Nevis remain closed to human traffic as the government continues to protect citizens and residents against the spread of COVID-19.

Refusing to listen to several public requests to close the gateways to St Kitts and Nevis Dr Harris only closed the borders after several airlines and cruise ships had stopped flying to St Kitts and Nevis.

Dr Harris announced the closure of all schools and that the airports would be closed at 11:59 p.m., hours after the first two positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

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