Open letter to the Governor of Montserrat

On April 3, 2020, the Hon Donaldson Romeo, former premier and currently opposition member of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly wrote to His Excellency Governor Pearce and the Hon Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell with concerns, “…that you would both be cooperative, transparent and timely in answering these questions which I shall share publicly.  You may wish to answer them publicly.”

See Questions below:

On April 5, 2020, the Governor replied: “As far as your first two questions are concerned, we are currently managing the crisis using the normal structures of our government.

We aim to take decisions as always through discussion and consensus. Decisions are then passed swiftly to line ministries for implementation. The Deputy Governor is assisting with this to ensure good coordination and responsiveness…”

Romeo reports that there was no direct response from Premier Farrell. He then submitted this as an open letter for publication.

Hon. Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell
Hon. Donaldson Romeo

See the thread also below.

Hon Donaldson Romeo
Box 340 Brades
Montserrat MSR 1110

9th April, 2020

His Excellency, Governor Pearce
Governor’s Office
Farara Plaza
Brades
Montserrat MSR 1310

Your Excellency,

Thank you for your April 5 response to my email and to two of the eleven questions which I posed to you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier on April 3, 2020.  I still am awaiting a response from the Honourable Premier.

At this point, I will not debate the use of existing Legislation as opposed to evoking Emergency powers.  Instead, I believe it is more important that I address the question of whether lockdown and curfew policies, are appropriate, adequate and effective, and being enforced.  For, even under these pandemic circumstances, it is my duty to constructively scrutinise and hold Cabinet to account while giving support wherever possible or permitted.

As a start, I remind you of the strong advice given on Sunday, March 15 from our own EC Dollar Monetary Council (on which our Hon Premier sits); that the best action to minimize economic fallout from COVID-19 is containment supported by personal responsibility combined with proactive, and where needed, aggressive public policy”.

The People of Montserrat are personally responsible for what they do individually and in their homes.  However, once they leave their homes they walk into the areas under Government control.  So the main question that needs to be answered is:  How effective are you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet in promoting good physical distancing and, in so doing, limiting or containing the spread of the coronavirus in public places, including where essential services are carried out?  In other words, how is the spread of the coronavirus (via infected droplets in the air to other persons or surfaces we all touch) in public places being prevented and contained?

This is indeed the whole purpose of enforcement by legislation and having frequent Cabinet meetings.  Clearly, if Cabinet’s decisions through discussion and consensus are not appropriate, adequate and properly funded, then those who follow Cabinet’s lead in implementing those decisions will fail.  

For instance:

  • Why is it that weeks prior to, and one week into the lockdown, members of the public are allowed to enter the premises of supermarkets and banks without having their hands sanitised? 
  • Why are the elderly being taken by frontline workers (themselves highly exposed to viral infection) from their homes to the bank and then to the very same supermarkets to purchase food during a Lockdown? 
  • Would the delivery of a package of food to homes of the vulnerable not significantly lessen their exposure to contracting the virus and thus be less of a health risk and economic cost to the Government and entire community? 
  • Will the unemployed and needy not be forced to break isolation at home by reaching out to others for food and other basic needs? 
  • Will those who have no transportation of their own not seek the assistance of a neighbor or friend living in a different location?

Clearly, a well-thought-out package of assistance with a delivery mechanism that reaches all in need, national or non-national in their homes, must be devised and implemented ASAP. The method of delivering food, medicine or financial packages must not weaken or defeat the purpose of isolation.

I must also ask, why many essential workers (in healthcare, government offices, supermarkets, etc) whose jobs require close contact with others, and with goods to be handled by the public, are not equipped with and required to wear a mask (manufactured or homemade) while at work?  Will wearing a mask or cloth covering the mouth and nose not reduce the level transfer of and exposure to droplets carrying the virus –  especially since essential workers may be asymptomatic carriers?

If so, why is there in over a week of confinement, a reluctance on your part and that of Cabinet to insist on the wearing of masks in all public places, as is well argued by doctors on the frontlines? Why ignore a measure that costs very little and could prevent much pain and suffering and save lives later, a measure that is now being actively promoted by epidemiologists, doctors on the frontline and governments in our region and around the world, and which is recognized as having played a vital role in South Korea’s impressive record of controlling the spread of COVID-19? 

( See https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/rff5i2c9q177dfk/VID-20200330-WA0005.mp4?dl=0)I also strongly recommend Dr. John Campbell’s solidly research-backed presentation of the same information with some very helpful visual aids “To mask or not to mask”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycf6bAMKgjg )

Clearly, having frequent Cabinet meetings, admonishing the public to observe washing of hands, staying at a 6-foot distance and staying at home for a two-week lockdown period, etc. are meaningless on their own, if, at the same time, contamination is encouraged on the very premises of the essential services that the public is allowed to frequent. 

That is exactly contrary to what our OECS Monetary Council (on which our Hon Premier sits) advised three weeks ago –  that our Governments must be proactive and aggressive through policies aimed at controlling the mingling of people and thus the spread of the coronavirus.

Today, that advice is proven to be absolutely correct and it is not too late for us to heed it.

That is why I urge you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier once more to be extremely vigilant in addressing obvious shortcomings that clearly defeat the whole purpose of the isolation that has been enforced.  These failures should not continue to linger long after being reported and practical solutions presented to you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier; especially since such failures could mean avoidable loss   

In conclusion, I repeat the call for you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet to be more proactive, aggressive and strict in implementing policies that help to contain and control the spread of the coronavirus.  As a start I suggest: 

  1. that all persons leaving their homes and at work on the front lines be required to wear masks (manufactured or homemade).  We can show the way by doing that ourselves every time we got out of your house!
  2. That, as soon as possible, sufficient funds be made available to reach and help as many as possible, national or non-national, in addition to those in the tourism sector, who, especially since the lockdown, are unemployed and in need.  Why is tourism a separate category?
  3. that a method of delivering financial and food packages be devised which does not undermine the effect of isolation and the containment of the coronavirus.
  4. the same goes for delivering cooking gas to people’s homes.
  5. that assisting with utility and telecommunication bills be a part of the financial packages being offered to the needy, including those on social welfare who are mostly the elderly.  This will ensure relief to the needy, income for the providers, that all can be communicated with and have electricity and water for cleaning, cooking, and essential purposes. Most of all it will lessen person to person contact between hundreds leaving their home to wait in line and pay bills. 
  6. a bonus is considered for Doctors, nurses, health and other overstretched front line care workers.
  7. that car licensing due in the month of April be postponed Until May 31st, 2020.
  8. that GoM encourages insurance companies to cover losses or extend their clients’ insurance coverage until May 31st when payments would become due.
  9. that the sanitising of hands be required at the entrance to all public and private premises where essential services are delivered, and that staff be provided with materials for washing and disinfecting their hands and surface areas while at work.
  10. that every effort is made to acquire the necessary equipment for targeted testing, which seems to be emerging as a key part of a successful strategy of containment and elimination in a context where the virus is spread, undetected, by people without apparent symptoms.

Unless Montserrat gets a firm grip on containing the spread of the coronavirus through practical policies, stricter measures and a more aggressive overall approach along with a call for greater personal responsibility, the agony we suffer may be prolonged.  For, already, experts are predicting one or more onward waves, similar to the three waves of the Spanish Influenza in 1918 to 1920.  

Montserrat’s economy is already hard hit by this lock-down, and many are expressing to me the hardships they face. With God’s help, we must find a sustainable solution.

I sincerely hope that, as a start, the concerns I have raised and the suggestions made will be of positive influence and support to you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet in the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Best regards,

D. Romeo’s emailed letter to Governor and Premier.

From: Donaldson Romeo
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 1:44 PM
To: ‘Andy Pearce (Sensitive)’ <andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk>
Cc: Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: RE: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3, 2020

Governor Andy Pearce

Your Excellency,

Thanks for your response, which I shall review while I wait on our Hon Premier to respond to the other questions. He may wish to address the first two questions as well.

As you would imagine, these are the sort of questions that I am faced with on a daily basis.  Your cooperation in providing such a prompt and detailed response will surely assist me in performing my role as an elected representative of the People.

Best regards,

D. Romeo

———————————————————————————

From: Andy Pearce (Sensitive) [mailto:andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk]
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 9:48 AM
To: Donaldson Romeo <romeod@gov.ms>
Cc: Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: Fwd: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3 2020

Dear Donaldson,

Thank you for your email below. 

As far as your first two questions are concerned, we are currently managing the crisis using the normal structures of our government. 

Cabinet meets frequently using remote video and audio conferencing facilities. I chair Cabinet in the usual way, working closely with the Premier, who of course leads the elected wing of the government. We aim to take decisions as always through discussion and consensus. Decisions are then passed swiftly to line ministries for implementation. The Deputy Governor is assisting with this to ensure good coordination and responsiveness. The Health Ministry is leading for us on the front line medical response and on aspects of public health policy. But as you would imagine this crisis requires a whole of government approach and all ministries are closely engaged. I have convened and chaired our National Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Advisory Committee to further strengthen cross-government coordination. We have also asked the DMCA to play a key coordinating role with its volunteer network and the Royal Montserrat Defence Force in support.  

We have used existing legislation so far to establish and enforce our lock-down and curfew policies. 

So far, on this basis, we have not found it necessary to proclaim emergency powers. These would become important if the situation changes and we were to need new laws quickly to enforce decisions or if we felt we needed to change our coordination machinery. 

I do understand that some may find it surprising that emergency powers have not been declared in what is clearly in many ways an emergency situation. But the emergency powers were designed in particular for situations such as the aftermath of hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters. This COVID-19 virus is certainly a disaster, for the world, but dealing with it will be a very long-running challenge that will require all aspects of government to work together across the piece for many months. There may come a time when we need the flexibility that emergency powers can provide and the Premier and I are keeping this under close review, but we are not there yet. 

On your questions about masks, I have written to you separately a few hours ago.  

The Premier may wish to respond on your other questions, which are more matters for him and his ministerial colleagues and our experts. 

I hope this helps clarify matters. 

Regards, 

Andy Pearce OBE | Governor of Montserrat | Montserrat 

——————————————————————-

From: Donaldson Romeo <romeod@gov.ms>
Sent: 03 April 2020 17:45
To: Andy Pearce (Sensitive) <andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk>; Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3, 2020 

Your Excellency and Hon Premier, 

Below are 11 questions that I ask on behalf of the People of Montserrat whom we all represent.  

His Excellency stated this morning on the ZJB breakfast show, I expect that you would both be cooperative, transparent and timely in answering these questions which I shall share publicly.  You may wish to answer them publicly. 

1.       Who is really constitutionally in charge of the emergency response to the Pandemic? Is it His Excellency Governor Pierce? Is it our Hon Premier or is it the Hon Minister of Health?

2.       When or under what circumstances would a state of emergency be declared? 

3.       When persons do report to the flu clinic that they are displaying serious flu-like symptoms, including cough, fever, and shortness of breath are they tested or are they told to stay in isolation?

4.       On Tuesday, March 1, our Hon Premier announced measures he states will ensure that “no one goes hungry during this crisis”.  How soon will needy and vulnerable persons presently in lockdown (many of whom are not working) get financial or other assistance through the stimulus package which was announced by our Hon Premier several days ago? How much is that support and how was it set at that level?

5.       Will the process of applying for financial or food packages of assistance mean that persons will have to leave their homes to go to offices where they will have to wait in line to fill forms, answer questions, provide bank account details, etc.? If so, will that level of, person to person contact not defeat the purpose of the lockdown?

6.       Can our Hon Premier explain in ordinary dollar and cents language how and when will raising the tax bracket to help those in lockdown who are working for $2,000, $2,500 or even $3,000 a month?

7.       Just before the lockdown, an elderly couple spent about half of the $800.00 they received in pension and social security payments to pay for utility and phone bills.  Many other needy persons have done the same. Do they qualify for financial or other assistance and how soon can they get that assistance?

8.       Are customers allowed to enter the premises of essential Offices and Businesses, such as Banks, supermarkets and even our hospital without sanitizing their hands?

9.       Is there a shortage of masks? If not, why don’t our Governor and Hon Premier insist that all members of the public wear masks, when leaving their homes; especially since experts suggest that wearing a mask could help to prevent further transmission of the Coronavirus by limiting droplets from infected persons getting to the face, nostril, and bodies of others or to surfaces we all touch?

10.   If there is a shortage of masks, what steps are being taken to get an adequate supply of masks?  And are there homemade masks that could prove adequate?

11.   How often will the People of Montserrat get more regular updates on Montserrat’s status regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19.

Best regards,

D. Romeo

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On April 3, 2020, the Hon Donaldson Romeo, former premier and currently opposition member of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly wrote to His Excellency Governor Pearce and the Hon Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell with concerns, “…that you would both be cooperative, transparent and timely in answering these questions which I shall share publicly.  You may wish to answer them publicly.”

See Questions below:

On April 5, 2020, the Governor replied: “As far as your first two questions are concerned, we are currently managing the crisis using the normal structures of our government.

Insert Ads Here

We aim to take decisions as always through discussion and consensus. Decisions are then passed swiftly to line ministries for implementation. The Deputy Governor is assisting with this to ensure good coordination and responsiveness…”

Romeo reports that there was no direct response from Premier Farrell. He then submitted this as an open letter for publication.

Hon. Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell
Hon. Donaldson Romeo

See the thread also below.

Hon Donaldson Romeo
Box 340 Brades
Montserrat MSR 1110

9th April, 2020

His Excellency, Governor Pearce
Governor’s Office
Farara Plaza
Brades
Montserrat MSR 1310

Your Excellency,

Thank you for your April 5 response to my email and to two of the eleven questions which I posed to you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier on April 3, 2020.  I still am awaiting a response from the Honourable Premier.

At this point, I will not debate the use of existing Legislation as opposed to evoking Emergency powers.  Instead, I believe it is more important that I address the question of whether lockdown and curfew policies, are appropriate, adequate and effective, and being enforced.  For, even under these pandemic circumstances, it is my duty to constructively scrutinise and hold Cabinet to account while giving support wherever possible or permitted.

As a start, I remind you of the strong advice given on Sunday, March 15 from our own EC Dollar Monetary Council (on which our Hon Premier sits); that the best action to minimize economic fallout from COVID-19 is containment supported by personal responsibility combined with proactive, and where needed, aggressive public policy”.

The People of Montserrat are personally responsible for what they do individually and in their homes.  However, once they leave their homes they walk into the areas under Government control.  So the main question that needs to be answered is:  How effective are you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet in promoting good physical distancing and, in so doing, limiting or containing the spread of the coronavirus in public places, including where essential services are carried out?  In other words, how is the spread of the coronavirus (via infected droplets in the air to other persons or surfaces we all touch) in public places being prevented and contained?

This is indeed the whole purpose of enforcement by legislation and having frequent Cabinet meetings.  Clearly, if Cabinet’s decisions through discussion and consensus are not appropriate, adequate and properly funded, then those who follow Cabinet’s lead in implementing those decisions will fail.  

For instance:

Clearly, a well-thought-out package of assistance with a delivery mechanism that reaches all in need, national or non-national in their homes, must be devised and implemented ASAP. The method of delivering food, medicine or financial packages must not weaken or defeat the purpose of isolation.

I must also ask, why many essential workers (in healthcare, government offices, supermarkets, etc) whose jobs require close contact with others, and with goods to be handled by the public, are not equipped with and required to wear a mask (manufactured or homemade) while at work?  Will wearing a mask or cloth covering the mouth and nose not reduce the level transfer of and exposure to droplets carrying the virus –  especially since essential workers may be asymptomatic carriers?

If so, why is there in over a week of confinement, a reluctance on your part and that of Cabinet to insist on the wearing of masks in all public places, as is well argued by doctors on the frontlines? Why ignore a measure that costs very little and could prevent much pain and suffering and save lives later, a measure that is now being actively promoted by epidemiologists, doctors on the frontline and governments in our region and around the world, and which is recognized as having played a vital role in South Korea’s impressive record of controlling the spread of COVID-19? 

( See https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/rff5i2c9q177dfk/VID-20200330-WA0005.mp4?dl=0)I also strongly recommend Dr. John Campbell’s solidly research-backed presentation of the same information with some very helpful visual aids “To mask or not to mask”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycf6bAMKgjg )

Clearly, having frequent Cabinet meetings, admonishing the public to observe washing of hands, staying at a 6-foot distance and staying at home for a two-week lockdown period, etc. are meaningless on their own, if, at the same time, contamination is encouraged on the very premises of the essential services that the public is allowed to frequent. 

That is exactly contrary to what our OECS Monetary Council (on which our Hon Premier sits) advised three weeks ago –  that our Governments must be proactive and aggressive through policies aimed at controlling the mingling of people and thus the spread of the coronavirus.

Today, that advice is proven to be absolutely correct and it is not too late for us to heed it.

That is why I urge you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier once more to be extremely vigilant in addressing obvious shortcomings that clearly defeat the whole purpose of the isolation that has been enforced.  These failures should not continue to linger long after being reported and practical solutions presented to you (Governor Pearce) and our Honourable Premier; especially since such failures could mean avoidable loss   

In conclusion, I repeat the call for you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet to be more proactive, aggressive and strict in implementing policies that help to contain and control the spread of the coronavirus.  As a start I suggest: 

  1. that all persons leaving their homes and at work on the front lines be required to wear masks (manufactured or homemade).  We can show the way by doing that ourselves every time we got out of your house!
  2. That, as soon as possible, sufficient funds be made available to reach and help as many as possible, national or non-national, in addition to those in the tourism sector, who, especially since the lockdown, are unemployed and in need.  Why is tourism a separate category?
  3. that a method of delivering financial and food packages be devised which does not undermine the effect of isolation and the containment of the coronavirus.
  4. the same goes for delivering cooking gas to people’s homes.
  5. that assisting with utility and telecommunication bills be a part of the financial packages being offered to the needy, including those on social welfare who are mostly the elderly.  This will ensure relief to the needy, income for the providers, that all can be communicated with and have electricity and water for cleaning, cooking, and essential purposes. Most of all it will lessen person to person contact between hundreds leaving their home to wait in line and pay bills. 
  6. a bonus is considered for Doctors, nurses, health and other overstretched front line care workers.
  7. that car licensing due in the month of April be postponed Until May 31st, 2020.
  8. that GoM encourages insurance companies to cover losses or extend their clients’ insurance coverage until May 31st when payments would become due.
  9. that the sanitising of hands be required at the entrance to all public and private premises where essential services are delivered, and that staff be provided with materials for washing and disinfecting their hands and surface areas while at work.
  10. that every effort is made to acquire the necessary equipment for targeted testing, which seems to be emerging as a key part of a successful strategy of containment and elimination in a context where the virus is spread, undetected, by people without apparent symptoms.

Unless Montserrat gets a firm grip on containing the spread of the coronavirus through practical policies, stricter measures and a more aggressive overall approach along with a call for greater personal responsibility, the agony we suffer may be prolonged.  For, already, experts are predicting one or more onward waves, similar to the three waves of the Spanish Influenza in 1918 to 1920.  

Montserrat’s economy is already hard hit by this lock-down, and many are expressing to me the hardships they face. With God’s help, we must find a sustainable solution.

I sincerely hope that, as a start, the concerns I have raised and the suggestions made will be of positive influence and support to you (Governor Pearce), our Honourable Premier and Cabinet in the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Best regards,

D. Romeo’s emailed letter to Governor and Premier.

From: Donaldson Romeo
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 1:44 PM
To: ‘Andy Pearce (Sensitive)’ <andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk>
Cc: Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: RE: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3, 2020

Governor Andy Pearce

Your Excellency,

Thanks for your response, which I shall review while I wait on our Hon Premier to respond to the other questions. He may wish to address the first two questions as well.

As you would imagine, these are the sort of questions that I am faced with on a daily basis.  Your cooperation in providing such a prompt and detailed response will surely assist me in performing my role as an elected representative of the People.

Best regards,

D. Romeo

———————————————————————————

From: Andy Pearce (Sensitive) [mailto:andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk]
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 9:48 AM
To: Donaldson Romeo <romeod@gov.ms>
Cc: Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: Fwd: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3 2020

Dear Donaldson,

Thank you for your email below. 

As far as your first two questions are concerned, we are currently managing the crisis using the normal structures of our government. 

Cabinet meets frequently using remote video and audio conferencing facilities. I chair Cabinet in the usual way, working closely with the Premier, who of course leads the elected wing of the government. We aim to take decisions as always through discussion and consensus. Decisions are then passed swiftly to line ministries for implementation. The Deputy Governor is assisting with this to ensure good coordination and responsiveness. The Health Ministry is leading for us on the front line medical response and on aspects of public health policy. But as you would imagine this crisis requires a whole of government approach and all ministries are closely engaged. I have convened and chaired our National Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Advisory Committee to further strengthen cross-government coordination. We have also asked the DMCA to play a key coordinating role with its volunteer network and the Royal Montserrat Defence Force in support.  

We have used existing legislation so far to establish and enforce our lock-down and curfew policies. 

So far, on this basis, we have not found it necessary to proclaim emergency powers. These would become important if the situation changes and we were to need new laws quickly to enforce decisions or if we felt we needed to change our coordination machinery. 

I do understand that some may find it surprising that emergency powers have not been declared in what is clearly in many ways an emergency situation. But the emergency powers were designed in particular for situations such as the aftermath of hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters. This COVID-19 virus is certainly a disaster, for the world, but dealing with it will be a very long-running challenge that will require all aspects of government to work together across the piece for many months. There may come a time when we need the flexibility that emergency powers can provide and the Premier and I are keeping this under close review, but we are not there yet. 

On your questions about masks, I have written to you separately a few hours ago.  

The Premier may wish to respond on your other questions, which are more matters for him and his ministerial colleagues and our experts. 

I hope this helps clarify matters. 

Regards, 

Andy Pearce OBE | Governor of Montserrat | Montserrat 

——————————————————————-

From: Donaldson Romeo <romeod@gov.ms>
Sent: 03 April 2020 17:45
To: Andy Pearce (Sensitive) <andy.pearce@fco.gov.uk>; Joseph E. Farrell <farrellje@gov.ms>
Subject: Questions to His Excellency Governor Pierce and our Hon Premier and Government March 3, 2020 

Your Excellency and Hon Premier, 

Below are 11 questions that I ask on behalf of the People of Montserrat whom we all represent.  

His Excellency stated this morning on the ZJB breakfast show, I expect that you would both be cooperative, transparent and timely in answering these questions which I shall share publicly.  You may wish to answer them publicly. 

1.       Who is really constitutionally in charge of the emergency response to the Pandemic? Is it His Excellency Governor Pierce? Is it our Hon Premier or is it the Hon Minister of Health?

2.       When or under what circumstances would a state of emergency be declared? 

3.       When persons do report to the flu clinic that they are displaying serious flu-like symptoms, including cough, fever, and shortness of breath are they tested or are they told to stay in isolation?

4.       On Tuesday, March 1, our Hon Premier announced measures he states will ensure that “no one goes hungry during this crisis”.  How soon will needy and vulnerable persons presently in lockdown (many of whom are not working) get financial or other assistance through the stimulus package which was announced by our Hon Premier several days ago? How much is that support and how was it set at that level?

5.       Will the process of applying for financial or food packages of assistance mean that persons will have to leave their homes to go to offices where they will have to wait in line to fill forms, answer questions, provide bank account details, etc.? If so, will that level of, person to person contact not defeat the purpose of the lockdown?

6.       Can our Hon Premier explain in ordinary dollar and cents language how and when will raising the tax bracket to help those in lockdown who are working for $2,000, $2,500 or even $3,000 a month?

7.       Just before the lockdown, an elderly couple spent about half of the $800.00 they received in pension and social security payments to pay for utility and phone bills.  Many other needy persons have done the same. Do they qualify for financial or other assistance and how soon can they get that assistance?

8.       Are customers allowed to enter the premises of essential Offices and Businesses, such as Banks, supermarkets and even our hospital without sanitizing their hands?

9.       Is there a shortage of masks? If not, why don’t our Governor and Hon Premier insist that all members of the public wear masks, when leaving their homes; especially since experts suggest that wearing a mask could help to prevent further transmission of the Coronavirus by limiting droplets from infected persons getting to the face, nostril, and bodies of others or to surfaces we all touch?

10.   If there is a shortage of masks, what steps are being taken to get an adequate supply of masks?  And are there homemade masks that could prove adequate?

11.   How often will the People of Montserrat get more regular updates on Montserrat’s status regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19.

Best regards,

D. Romeo