Hon. Leader of the Opposition, Roy McTaggart, has welcomed the PACT government’s announcement that the borders will reopen on November 20th.
“Seeing the broad outline of the re-opening plan and learning of the proposed new date is undoubtedly welcome. We are all now finally getting a glimpse of the Government's strategy and preparedness for re-opening, albeit at a very high level.”
Mr McTaggart also “thanked the Premier for listening to the Opposition and the broader public's concerns and shedding some light on how the Government thinks about re-opening.”
However, the Progressives leader’s enthusiasm is dampened by his concerns that the actual reopening plan as outlined lacked key details.
While he welcomed “the broad reopening plan”, Mr McTaggart noted: “It is not lost on me, or the public, that the country's Critical Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan is still very much a work in progress. Yet, we are less than 30 days away from the newly announced opening date.
The Hon. Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, had given an outline of the plan during last week’s government press conference.
“As the Deputy Governor said at the press briefing, the public has a right to see every component of the plan. I couldn't agree more. I also agree with the Deputy Governor that the public expects the Government to prove that we are ready to re-open,” Mr McTaggart stated in his reaction.
He also pointed to the acknowledgement by the Premier and Government acknowledged that “there is still a lot of work to be done to adequately prepare to re-open and provide the necessary assurances to the country.”
The Opposition Leader said, “The country is looking forward to full details of the plan to be made public before we get to November 20th.”
Mr McTaggart reminded that he had previously called on Hon. Premier Wayne Panton on October 19th to clarify the government's plans for re-opening.
“I asked him to provide the country with a re-opening date and the details on managing the re-opening, particularly to confirm how the Government was preparing our health systems to handle the anticipated increase in infections as the borders opened.”
The Progressives leader also said he had asked for “additional clarity on how people would be supported when having to isolate, particularly those now in isolation because of community spread, and those after the re-opening should the infections materialize.”
Mr McTaggart said the Opposition faction has been invited by Premier Panton to attend a presentation this week on the re-opening plan.
“I expect that this will allow the Opposition the opportunity to better understand the details of the plan outlined last Friday,” he stated while noting in a convivial tone that while their political views may differ, “I know that the love we both have for these Islands and our people is without question.”