The Cabinet has asked the Barbuda Council to discard its proposed shutdown of the island and to implement the new curfew measures instituted by the government effective last Friday.
Informed sources say the Cabinet convened an extraordinary meeting on 31st January 2021, when it discussed the matter concerning the confirmation of two positive cases of COVID-19 on the island of Barbuda and the press release issued by the Barbuda Council captioned “Positive COVID-19 Cases recorded for Barbuda Effective February 1st to February 5th 2021.”
The sources say during its deliberations, Cabinet reiterated its fullest commitment to taking all necessary and lawful measures to protect the lives and livelihood of all citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Notwithstanding the contents of the press release issued by the Barbuda Council, the Cabinet re-emphasized its pledge to collaborate with the Barbuda Council to implement the polices of the government and at all times to act in the interest of the state of Antigua and Barbuda.
Accordingly, in respect of the emerging public health concern in Barbuda, that is, the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 cases the Cabinet has agreed that Barbuda Council should be advised that the lawful authority in the state to make decisions for the closure of any establishment is the Central Board of Health and any restrictions on the movement of persons or their activities is regulated by the Public Health Act.
Following consultations with the Attorney General and having received advice from legal counsels within the Ministry, Cabinet agreed that the Barbuda Council has no authority impose any measures articulated in its press release of 31st January.
Cabinet also agreed that the Ministry of Health should work with the Barbuda Council to approve measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the island or elsewhere within the state. Cabinet further agreed that all business establishments on the island of Barbuda, inclusive of major developments, to include activities associated with the PLH development and other construction projects, with the exception of bars and clubs, shall be permitted to operate between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Cabinet expressed in unrelenting support for all and any efforts to safeguard the health, lives and livelihood of all the residents of Barbuda.