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PM Harris: “We Preferred if the State as a Whole Followed a Similar Policy”

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by Devonne Cornelius

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “We preferred if the state as a whole followed a similar policy. The Nevis Island Administration had indicated that having regard to the Covid-19 situation then, that they had no cases for a relatively long period, it would have been very difficult for them to pursue a lockdown of the type on St. Kitts” were the sentiments of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris when he spoke on his June 15 edition of Leadership Matters.

After Prime Minister Dr. Harris’ address to the nation on Friday evening (June 11), Premier of Nevis Mark Brantley came hours later on Saturday evening (June 12) and announced that a similar lockdown/restricted movement approach would not be taken on the island of Nevis due to no cases [community spread] being experienced on the island at the time.

Premier Brantley said all offices of the Nevis Island Administration and businesses on Nevis will remain open as long as employees can practice social distancing and observe the non-pharmaceutical measures, however, Prime Minister Dr. Harris less than 24 hours before, announced that all government offices and businesses in the Federation shall cease their operations.

In response to a question from a caller on the Leadership Matters program as to why Nevis does not have similar lockdown measures like St. Kitts, Prime Minister Dr. Harris referred to Chapter 10, Article 106 of the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis which states “the Administration shall have exclusive responsibility for the administration within the island of Nevis, in accordance with the provisions of any relevant laws, of the following matters:

Airports and seaports;
Education;
Extraction and processing of minerals;
Fisheries;
Health and welfare;
Labour;
Land and buildings vested in the Crown and specifically appropriated to the use of the Government; and
Licensing of imports into and exports out of Saint Christopher and Nevis.

The Statutory Rules and Orders number 24 of 2021 supports or provides more legal reinforcement for the measures announced by the Premier of Nevis.

Part four (IV) regulation 15, sub-regulation one (1) states “In an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, all businesses and offices may continue their business operations by allowing their employees to work remotely from home utilizing virtual means.”

Furthermore, Subject to sub-regulation (1), where a business is able to continue its operations by its employees practicing social distancing and physical distancing in accordance with the provisions of regulation 4, it may operate.

However, the SRO 24 of 2021 gives specific directions for the operation of weddings, funerals, and churches on the island of St. Kitts but nothing is mentioned in that regard for Nevis.

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