The initiative, which prioritises 12–17-year-olds, was designed to enhance the current COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, by providing further options and adjusting entry protocols that would support persons wishing to participate.
Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who was present at the West End Ferry Terminal to see the youngsters off, thanked the USVI and its Governor, Mr Albert A. Bryan Jr as well as local Governor John J. Rankin CMG for their support in making the collaboration happen.
He also used the opportunity to thank local health officials for their work during this pandemic.
Further, Premier Fahie indicated that the youths will be accompanied by parents as well as Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5), who will report on what will be happening on the ground in the USVI.
“So we are seeing over 60 something persons going on this trip today, and it's going to be ongoing, so we want to thank everyone for making this possible,” Premier Fahie said.
“We want to encourage our people to first of all stay prayed up. Only God could help us through this there. There are many variants of COVID on us and coming at us that we have to stay prayed up, that's our first major and solid defense,” he added.
Premier Fahie has also encouraged persons to further strengthen their immune systems and recommended vaccination against the virus.
“COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, and more variants are coming… so we have to decide how we are going to work and live, so the best way to do that is to follow all the social measures,” he said.
The Premier called the moment ‘a great day’ for the territory as a testament to the USVI/VI friendship remaining strong enough to collaborate and give persons the best fighting chance against the virus.