In a phone call conversation with Augustine Ferdinand meant to update listeners of the ULP centered ‘Shake Up’ radio show, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves counseled Vincentians who recently returned to SVG and are also accused of breaking quarantine regulations.
92 sailors were repatriated to Vincentian shores last Saturday by the Carnival Cruise Line Company. Reports are that Vincentian sailors, with that company, were transferred to the Carnival Glory vessel along with other Caribbean nationals who were being brought home. Of the sailors who eventually made it ashore on Saturday, local Health Authorities have said, “two (2) crew members, who both came from the same ship, were found on rapid testing to have been exposed to COVID-19.
“The Health Services Subcommittee has commenced further testing on those two (2) Crew members and their four counterparts, to determine whether or not they have active COVID-19 infections. All six have been quarantined in a government approved facility, until definitive PCR COVID-19 testing can be completed. The other eighty-six (86) crew members have commenced fourteen (14) days of mandatory quarantine in their private homes, apartments and guest houses.”
A release published in the Media Center of the www.gov.vc website noted, “Twenty-two (22) Vincentian workers returned from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 at the Argyle International Airport (AIA). The group, upon arrival, was welcomed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, among other health professionals, who walked them through registration and health checks.
“Speaking during a press conference this morning, May 7th 2020, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Hon. Luke Browne; said that of the 22 persons who returned from the BVI yesterday, 18 were allowed to quarantine in their homes or in pre-arranged accommodation for that purpose and four were sent to a quarantine facility.”
On Tuesday, PM Gonsalves’ reminded listeners of the imminent arrival of other cruise line sailors. He said, “I’d spoken in relation to Disney which coming on the 20th with 25 of them and of course the big number 400 with Royal Caribbean. But we got word this morning [May 12] that Carnvial has found 9 Vincentians on ships off Barbados.
“They had told me originally had 112 persons but when they finally dotted off the numbers they said 91/92. So it is clear that – others may well join up, eh and they want to bring those tomorrow [May 13]. They would come under the same protocols.
“I just want to repeat for everybody; those you came in from the BVI, those who came in on Carnival – look yo in quarantine, stay in quarantine in yo home eh. Those of you in yo quarantine in yo home – just stay there.
“Because one person who came in on Wednesday night last week from BVI, by Friday night he was out! He was quickly reported and the police went for him and put him in a government approved facility. And there are a couple of others who came in on Saturday on Carnival [Glory] who are coming out on the road breaking the quarantine they have already been contacted by the police.”
Dr. Gonsalves also weighed in, somewhat, on the how recently catered for penalties in amended laws could be possibly triggered. “As you know enforcement of laws depend on the civilian authorites, that is the police and not the politicians; I always make that point. And as a young democracy we have to always constantly make that point so we don’t have politicitians insisting who should be prosecuted and who should not be prosecuted. That’s a journey as a mature leader that I don’t want to go down.
“We have done our work. Look so far we have been going in a way where we are following the guidelines, people are buying in; I don’t want these persons who are coming – our returning workers, our seafarers and the like – to really breach our trust in this way by not following the quarantine.
“And I’m just telling them, there are people out there who are looking. People report yesterday for instance that somebody from Layou was walking about, somebody also from Barrouallie, somebody they said too from South Rivers. But I think the police have contacted all those individuals. People are calling in and we have our own structures and systems.”
It is not clear what, if any charges, were brought against the alleged quarantine absconders.