ANGUILLA: VACCINE PASSPORT ON THE CARDS
A vaccine passport is set to become a requirement for travel between the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla and the joint Dutch and French Overseas European Territory of St Maarten/St Martin.
Historically the two neighbouring islands have had strong connections for trade, tourism and family ties linked by airline and popular local ferry services operating mainly out of Anguilla.
However, traffic across the channel that separates them has been severely reduced due to COVID restrictions.
Now, with the EU introducing vaccine passports, it appears highly likely that this would soon be a requirement for travel between the neighbouring islands.
Anguilla’s Tourism Minister Hadyn Hughes, notes this is the world that’s evolving post-COVID.
“There are certain global regulations and norms that we have to conform to,” he said in a government press conference this week.
“When it comes to international travel, we don’t make the rules, we follow the rules.”
Anguilla is just one of two British territories in the Caribbean impacted by Brexit that shares next door maritime borders with an EU territory.
The other is Montserrat located just north of the French territory of Guadeloupe.
BVI BUSINESSES PROTEST DELAY IN OPENING SEAPORTS
The main business organisation in the British Virgin Islands say their prospects for recovery has again been setback after the government has further delayed the reopening of the seaports.
They will now be opened next month, the second delay from the previous schedule last December.
The BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) says it’s disappointed and that “the tourism sector is on life support”.
“The seaports are the main point of destination access into the Virgin Islands and a further delay to April 2021 at the end of the regular tourism season is another blow to an already fragile situation,” the organisation said in a statement.
It further states that “this would mean that for the second year in a row, the accommodations and food services sector, which accounted for over $80 million in economic activity in 2016, has suffered another major disruption that could result in permanent business closures.”
The BVICCHA claims that some businesses are still reporting that they have not received business relief assistance promised from six months ago.
BERMUDA PLANS POST-COVID ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The Bermuda government is putting in place a task force to guide economic recovery out of the pandemic.
Making the announcement in the House of Assembly, Premier David Burt said, it was work that could not wait.
The task force will comprise pubic and private sector experts to devise the recovery strategy.
A 30-point plan is already being developed with an outline of the priority areas to be presented on March 16th targeting key sectors of the economy and society.
What is being touted as a National Recovery Plan is expected to propose a number of initiatives and new policies.
These are said to include lowering interest rates to facilitate affordable housing, universal healthcare, and creating what have been described as ‘economic empowerment zones’.