Managing Partner Mark Fulford welcomes the phases reopening announced by the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands on 30th April 2020.
Fulford said that businesses such as Attorneys and for his own part F Chambers should have been allowed to operate as essential workers as fairness dictated so, given that Attorney General and DPP lawyers were allowed. Fulford also pointed to the fact that in the UK the covid19 laws were amended to allow all lawyers to be deemed essential workers.
Full text of Premier’s phased opening remarks are below:
PREMIER’S NATIONAL COVID-19 ADDRESS 30 APRIL 2020
Good Afternoon Turks and Caicos!
The Turks and Caicos Islands is at a critical juncture in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am firmly of the view that if Cabinet had not made the decisions it did those being: introducing Emergency Regulations and a curfew to enforce a significant degree of social distancing; these Islands would now be experiencing the level of transmission and Covid-19 related deaths as set out in previous ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ modelling similar to what we see in some countries in the region and around the World.
The Important Role of the People
But what is most important in this experience is the role that you the people have played to flatten the curve. Your sacrifices have made important gains possible, and as a people, we are indeed in a much better place because of it.
This has been an encouraging period, one that we can be proud of. Despite the rather unfortunate actions of a few, as a people, we have come together towards a single important goal. As we look around, we see what the irresponsible actions of a few have cost countries, but our experience shows that when we each behave responsibly and collectively, we can achieve the best outcomes.
Let me repeat though, as I said on Tuesday, we may have successfully mitigated Covid-19, but we have not avoided it, and we have not removed the threat of the virus to our population. Emergency Regulations and your responsible action have simply bought us time to allow the Ministry of Health (MoH), in partnership with Inter Health Canada (IHC), to strengthen our healthcare system and enhance the capacity and capabilities it has to respond to this pandemic.
The decision as to what comes next is not a decision that anyone in the position of leadership at this time has taken lightly. We remain guided by the main principle that life-saving measures must take precedence over the economy, and this alone is not an easy decision but a right one for political leaders across the globe. While we have to balance these two important and sometimes opposing determinants, we wish to assure you the people that this approach remains heavily based on Ministry of Health’s advice.
Following a 2-day meeting ending yesterday after an 11hr Session, Cabinet finalised a position on the way forward with our Health heads present and under their guidance. These meetings were of course preceded by a series of meetings where a wealth of information has been shared over the past weeks. Our position taken was based on the following:
- An understanding of a clear and informed view of the readiness of the healthcare system in the Turks and Caicos Islands to respond to an uptick in cases that the relaxation in regulations would inevitably see;
- The support for rapid development and implementation of a whole-of-TCI testing strategy; and
- the fact that this is an unpredictable situation and that any decisions made must continuously be reviewed appreciating that there may be times when Health’s advice will be to consider a roll back.
COVID 19 Pandemic Phased Reopening of Key Government Departments
In line with Phase 1B of the Turks and Caicos Islands Phased Reopening Program and in accordance with Regulation 6(1) of the Emergency Powers (COVID 19)(No.4)(Amendment) Regulations 2020, Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service Her Excellency Anya Williams wishes to announce the Public Service COVID 19 Phased Reopening Program.
In order to provide critical services to the general public, kindly note that the following government departments will reopen on Monday May 11, 2020:
Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment
Accountant General’s Department (Treasury)
Revenue Control Unit
Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services
Employment Services Unit
Registration and Citizenship Unit
Customer Service Centre
Coastal Radar Unit
Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation
Road Safety Department
Her Majesty’s Prison Service
Domestic Fire Service
Radio Turks and Caicos
Central Purchasing Unit
Office of the Deputy Premier, Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing, Planning and Development
Public Works Department
Physical Planning Department
Estate Management Unit
Project Management Division
Ministry of Tourism and Environment
Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies
Department of Environment and Coastal Resources
Ministry of Health and Human Services
Heath Promotion and Advocacy Unit
National Public Health Laboratory
Primary Health Care Unit
Environmental Health Department
National Epidemiology and Research Unit
Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Library Services
Social Development Department
Tertiary and Further Education Unit
Office of the Premier, Local Government and Community Affairs
District Commissioners’ Offices
Office of the Deputy Governor
Contract and Performance Management Unit
Human Resource Management Directorate
Attorney Generals Chambers
Crown Land Unit
Phased Reopening of Key Public Bodies
Following consultation with the heads of the following public bodies, the following key public bodies will reopen on 11th May 2029:
Independent Public Bodies
The Labour Tribunal
The Elections Office
Statutory/Arm’s Length Bodies
National Insurance Board
National Health Insurance Board
Financial Services Commission
Human Rights Commission
1) A limited number of staff will report to work from 9am-2pm from Monday through Friday each week, on a rotational basis in order to provide critical services to the general public.
2) Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department must ensure that adequate provisions for physical distancing are in place for all employees inclusive of adequate hand washing and hand sanitising facilities for employees and customers, and reduction in numbers of persons within offices.
3) Every person in an office must distance themselves from other persons at a minimum of six feet (6ft.) from any other person.
4) Based on available space and social and physical distancing restrictions, a limited number of customers are allowed access to government buildings at a time.
5)Any person working in and any member of the public seeking to access government buildings are required to wear a mask/facial covering.
6) Where possible, members of the public are asked to continue to use online services including payment services that have recently been put in place.
7) Where necessary, appointment systems should be launched to reduce queues and possible overcrowding issues and to ensure quality service delivery in a safe environment.
Separate announcements will be made by individual ministries and departments regarding their product offerings and planned operations during this period.