Illegal entry is suspected by some as a key contributing factor to the massive COVID-19 surge happening in the British Virgin Islands.
“If there is any truth that we have persons illegally entering our borders – our borders that remain porous – again, it looks like I’m gonna have to call another gangster summit because I don’t understand how come y’all start back up with this mess,” Skelton Cline said on his Honestly Speaking radio programme.
It is unclear whether Skelton Cline’s previous efforts to stop any suspected smuggling and human trafficking activities between the BVI and the neighbouring US Virgin Islands saw any success a year ago when those illicit activities had been linked to clusters of COVID-19 cases in the territory.
Meanwhile, Skelton Cline said his conversations with law enforcement officers have revealed that there may be a lack of will in ensuring that the BVI’s borders remain fortified.
He questioned the alleged removal of officers from manned patrol barges on the BVI’s waters and a reported lack of meetings by members of the Joint Task Force which was assembled to strengthen border security.
Skelton Cline said while he had not heard definitively about the source of the current surge, answers needed to be provided by law enforcement about whether illegal entries have been likely contributing to the rise in cases.
Credible evidence by health officials that this latest upsurge is due to lax adherence to established protocols has not been well received in several quarters locally.
Instead, many have searched for other reasons to add to the swirling menu of conspiracy theories floating on various platforms as to the genesis of the current outbreak.
The BVI has seen more than 1,200 new positive cases in a little more than a week. This spike has been accompanied by a number of COVID-related deaths and several persons being sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital.
Health officials have declared the BVI as having advanced community spread of the virus, advising that testing for the virus is now a more dangerous prospect and more likely to boost COVID-19 positive numbers as persons are further exposed.
Officials have asked that persons experiencing symptoms seek medical care once they have knowingly been exposed or have determined that their symptoms are consistent with the virus.