Following a new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom (UK), the Cabinet of the VI agreed that anyone under the approved categories coming from the UK must go through a 14-day quarantine.
Mr Jaspert just returned to Tortola last evening, January 7, 2021, from the UK where he spent his Christmas holidays.
Sources in the Governor’s office familiar with the issues; however, have told our newsroom that Mr Jaspert is demanding that he only stays “4 days in quarantine”, which is a violation of the Territory’s protocol.
The Officer noted that the outgoing Jaspert can potentially expose staff of the Governor’s Office and other civil servants to COVID-19, even if his PCR test shows negative after the 4 days.
Efforts to get a response from the Governor's Office proved futile up to time of publication.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone (AL), when asked when the 14-day travel requirement for persons with a UK travel history would be effective, said "now in effect".
Hon subsequently released a statement today, January 8, 2021, in the quarantine requirement.
He said the United Kingdom in the protection of its very own citizens has implemented strict curfews and protocols aimed at containing the spread of this new strain which has resulted in lives being affected.
"We have seen where countries surrounding the United Kingdom have closed their borders and have implemented measures to curtail immigration to and from the United Kingdom.
"We have seen where in the Caribbean; a number of countries have already placed bans on visitors coming from the United Kingdom," Hon Malone stated, adding that if we are to protect our citizens, we have to implement whatever measure is required in order to further protect visitors and residents.
"As a result of what is happening globally with this new strain of COVID-19, as a Cabinet, on 7 January, 2021, we decided that effective immediately, all persons approved to travel to the BVI originating or transiting through the Dominican Republic or the United Kingdom are required to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival provided they undergo a five-day rt-PCR testing regimen, prior to arrival, and on days 0, 7 and 14.
"We decided in light of the new strain of COVID-19 prevalent in the United Kingdom (UK), to implement a travel ban effective Monday, 11th January, 2021 of persons travelling from the UK to the British Virgin Islands except for Nationals, Belongers, Residents, work permit holders, persons permitted to reside in the Territory, diplomats and persons employed by Government and Statutory agencies."
Hon Malone emphasised that the 14-day quarantine for any one coming from the United Kingdom is important "so that we do not endanger the lives and livelihood of the people of the Virgin Islands who is looking to this Government to keep them safe."
He noted that anyone coming from the United Kingdom is required to present a negative COVID-19 test result prior to entry in the Territory of the Virgin Islands.
"Persons are subject to the necessary fourteen (14) day quarantine requirement once arriving in the Territory from the United Kingdom, which is considered a high-risk country.
"In this regard, persons will also be subject to follow-up testing upon arrival in the Virgin Islands, as well as a quarantine exit test at the end of the fourteen (14) day quarantine period."
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) when contacted on the matter said the Government of the Virgin Islands expects that anyone in authority would adhere to the protocols approved by the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands.
"This is important to protect the safety of the people of the Virgin Islands.
"Together, we have worked very hard to get this Territory to this phase we are at and we will continue to take all precautionary measures to keep us all safe," Premier Fahie said.
Many residents see this behaviour as having no regard for the rule of law or the lives of the people of the VI. One resident, who did not want her name to be used for this article, claimed “it seems like we have another Donald Trump-like person on our hands”.
Many in the political class had wished for the governor not to return; however, some noted he seems like a Donald Trump unwilling to demit office, even as he has become the most unpopular and controversial figure in the VI social and political space.
Some in the media profession have blasted him over the last year for his meaningless press conferences and interfering in the work of the local democratically elected government.
Many residents were concerned that Mr Jaspert, who is a UK civil servant appointed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spent over $90,000 on a top of the line Range Rover using taxpayers funds in the middle of a pandemic last year.
His critics have frowned on the spending, nothing that the Territory gets little to nothing from the UK.
Mr Jaspert, who has become unpopular for saying that the Virgin Islands should not expect any reparations for the evil acts of slavery and has defended the keep of names of landmarks named after perpetrators of slavery, torture, murder, rape, plunder and genocide, came to the Virgin Islands in 2017 and had requested an extension for an additional year.
The UK appointed Governor was also accused of interfering with the legislative branch earlier this year when he tried to dictate to the House of Assembly (HoA) to meet so he would not miss the deadline for the laying of the BVI Airways Report in the HoA.
Veteran legislator Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) subsequently brought a motion to the HoA seeking to have the Governor reprimanded for the delay of the report; however, the motion was defeated.
Meanwhile, Governor Jaspert has also infuriated Government and elected members of the House of Assembly over his reported attempts to cause a strain in the relationship between the elected Government and the electorates.
He also drew backlash when he brought unsubstantiated claims to the public that there were victimisation and irregularities in the civil service.
Further, Premier Fahie suggested in the House of Assembly (HoA) on January 5, 2021, that the Governer has been attempting to bully his government and threatening to not assent to legislation he is not in favour of.
Further, both Government and Opposition legislators at the same HoA sitting were united on the view that the powers of the Governor needs to be limited.
Governor Jaspert will be recalled early this year.
A new Governor for the Virgin Islands has already been announced.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie suggested in the House of Assembly (HoA) on January 5, 2021, that the Governer has been attempting to bully his government and threatening to not assent to legislation he is not in favour of.
Hon Malone emphasised that the 14-day quarantine for anyone coming from the United Kingdom is important, 'so that we do not endanger the lives and livelihood of the people of the Virgin Islands who is looking to this Government to keep them safe.'
Both Government and Opposition legislators at the House of Assembly sitting of January 5, 2021, were united on the view that the powers of the Governor needs to be limited.