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Premier should have defended VI against cruise ship COVID policies – Julio S. Henry

Premier should have defended VI against cruise ship COVID policies – Julio S. Henry

Tourism operator, business owner and former radio talk show host, Mr Julio S. Henry aka 'Sam' has blasted Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) for not defending the Territory against the COVID-19 policies implemented by cruise ships travelling to the Virgin Islands (VI) as a destination.

An irate Henry made the comments on the Monday, May 10, 2021, edition of ‘Da Morning Braff’ show on Tola Radio 100.5 FM with host Floyd Burnett aka ‘'Heritage'.

Cruise ships bullying destinations - Henry


“The cruise ships now trying to bully destinations, and my Premier… instead of telling me about the defence he put up, to support and defend his own businesses, he telling me that If I ain’t vaccinate I will get left behind,” he said.

Premier Fahie, during the April 10, 2021, edition of ‘ZOEJ Says” live-streamed on Facebook, said cruise ships with vaccinated staff were requesting vaccinated tourism operators in the territory and that the government will not be setting the rules, rather, the industry.

“There are persons already asking, tourists… when I come, I want to be able to go in a taxi where the taxi operator is vaccinated,” he said.

“So, the industry will demand what happens, not the government, because when you have a tourist come off the cruise ship and then demanding that they only go in a taxi that is vaccinated, you can’t bring them to the Premier to complain,” Hon Fahie said.

Premier Andrew A. Fahie said the government will not be making the rules regarding cruise ship policies on vaccination, rather, the industry will determine.


Workers must stand up against vaccination policy


So far, at least two resorts have implemented policies to have staff vaccinated or be permanently laid off. According to Henry who himself is a taxi operator, businesses should not be allowed to implement the ‘unnecessary” policy.

“Now is the time for all those employees who are not being affected right now to stand up together in solidarity with other employees who are being affected.”

He said the collective workforce cannot allow employers and businesses to bully and enforce vaccination, rather, they must stand in solidity against the policy.

“If the government does not put up a fight for those employees, what does that say about you when it comes to your turn, are they going to defend you?” he quested.

Henry called for policies in 2020


In May 2020, Henry had implored the Fahie administration to re-open the tourism sector, warning that the economy was sinking and at risk of losing its tourism industry.

"In recognising the approach of our USVI neighbours, who are moving forward to allow hotels and villa rentals to begin accepting outside reservations, says to me that we in the BVI should continue to practice measures of safety and social distancing while moving in a direction that prepares us to reopen for tourism and position ourselves to accommodate visitors to our shores," he said in a circular sent to the media on May 7, 2020.

Government has since reopened the airports and seaports and is now relaxing quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated travellers.

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