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21 days limited State of Emergency commencing at 6 pm today

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by Linda Straker

  • Limited State of Emergency declared for 21 days under 1987 Emergency Powers Act
  • Will go into effect as of 6 pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020
  • Freedom of movement will be daily for essential services workers from 5 am to 7 pm, while a curfew will be imposed daily from 7 pm to 5 am

As part of stringent measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the country, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has asked the Governor-General to declared a limited State of Emergency for 21 days under the 1987 Emergency Powers Act.

The limited State of Emergency will go into effect as of 6 pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 – almost 72 hours after Grenada confirmed that it had its first Covid-19 positive patient. The 50-year-old female who came in from the United Kingdom, is presently at the General Hospital after her conditions deteriorated.

In providing justification, Prime Minister Mitchell said that failure to take appropriate action to protect citizens could see the country paying a price. “There are no heroes in war,” he told the nation in the 1 pm national address, as he referred to the effect of Covid-19 as a war.

He further explained that the State of Emergency is not meant to punish citizens but to tolerate as little damage as possible to the country. Grenada has already halted operations at all ports of entry.

Emergency Powers Covid-19 Regulations 2020

Under the State of Emergency, freedom of movement will be daily for essential services workers from 5 am to 7 pm, while a curfew will be imposed daily from 7 pm to 5 am. Essential workers included medical/healthcare professional, public servants in specific divisions including the Accountant General Office and the Ministry of Social Development as well as the media.

According to Section 3 of the Emergency Power Act: If at any time it appears to the Governor-General that action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any person or body of persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be likely to endanger the maintenance of public order or the defence of Grenada or the maintenance of public safety or the defence of the community or any substantial portion of the community or any supplies or services essential to the life of the community, the Governor-General may, by Proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette, declare that a state of emergency exists in Grenada or any part thereof.

Emergency Powers Covid-19 Regulations 2020

Section Six mandates that regulations made under Section 4 of this Act shall be published in the Gazette if it at any time it is impossible or impracticable to publish in the Gazette a Proclamation or regulations made in pursuance of this Act, it shall be lawful to publish such Proclamation or regulations by affixing notification thereof to public buildings, or distributing such notification to the public at large, or publicising the same by means of broadcasting or the press.

Immediately following the announcement by the Prime Minister, Leslie-Ann Johnson, who is the Acting Director of the Government Information Service (GIS), read out the regulations live on air.

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Caribbean & World

Government of Grenada addresses economic fallout from Covid-19 pandemic

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The Government of Grenada is sparing no effort in addressing the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This assurance came from Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, as he hosted his most recent press conference, in which an extension of the 24-hour curfew was announced.

Dr Mitchell said, “The staff at the Ministry of Finance continues to work on rolling out the economic stimulus package, which is designed to help provide a buffer for businesses and workers that have been hardest hit by the crisis.”

14 measures were outlined in the stimulus package, announced on 20 March 2020 and some persons are expected to start receiving benefits by the end of this month.

Under the stimulus package, qualifying hotels, restaurants and bars and travel agents will receive a percentage of their existing payroll. Although the workers are the ultimate beneficiaries of this measure, the application must be submitted by the business establishment.

Qualifying businesses are advised that the payroll support must be used for that particular purpose and NOT for any other aspect of their business operation. Employees will be expected to certify receipt of payment at the end of each month in which the benefit is applicable.

With respect to income support for public buses, taxi drivers, tourist vendors and other such identified hospitality-based industries, efforts are being made to contact those affected directly with a view to facilitate payments.

All payroll support and income support payments will be by direct deposit to the bank account of qualifying persons and businesses.

Office of the Prime Minister

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Caribbean & World

Blue Light Distillery commits to the fight against Covid-19 in Grenada

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Many spirits and liquors producers across the Caribbean are mobilising efforts in response to the growing need for sanitising solutions which are critical to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Grenada-based Blue Light Distillery also joined the fight against the virus.

The company, run by Jim Jardine that initially manufactures gin, is one of the beneficiaries of the INTERREG Trade Enhancement for the Eastern Caribbean (TEECA) project, which is coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce of Martinique (CCI Martinique) along with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export).

Sanitisers became scarce or impossible to find in supermarkets in Grenada, as soon as the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed on the island on 22 March 2020.

The handmade gin brand Blue Light Distillery decided to embark on the manufacture of antiseptic solutions based on alcohol and aloe vera in response to this unprecedented situation. As of 24 March 2020, the company began to produce 100 bottles of 500 ml per day to supply the supermarkets.

The director of Blue Gin Distillery, Aaron Salyer, explained its decision to revamp the production from hand-crafted gin made with wild Canadian juniper berries to hand sanitisers made with alcohol and aloe vera.

“Blue Light Distillery decided to manufacture hand sanitisers for 2 reasons. First of all, we have access to the high percentage alcohol necessary to make the antiseptic products which are essential in the fight against Covid-19. It also enables us to keep the business afloat during this crisis. Tourism plays a big role in our business. However, bars and hotels are closed, and cruiseships no longer dock in Grenada because of the pandemic,” Salyer said.

The director of Blue Gin Distillery also indicated that donations of sanitisers were made to senior citizens’ facilities and to people who are most affected by poverty on the island. The curfew introduced in Grenada on 30 March and the ban on the sale of alcohol has also impacted the young company founded in 2018.

The involvement in the fight against Covid-19 enabled the only hand-crafted gin manufacturing distillery of the island to survive while praying for the end of the pandemic and the return to normal economic and tourist activities in Grenada.

OECS-Chamber of Commerce of Martinique Joint Media Release

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No burn policy in effect

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by Linda Straker

  • 1 person charged for burning vegetation without permission
  • No-burn policy during dry season January to June
  • Agriculture Fires Act dates from September 1951

Police have confirmed charging one person for burning vegetation because he did not obtain permission to engage in such activities and this is a violation of the no-burn policy which came into effect once the island entered the dry season period of January to June.

The Agriculture Fires Act which dates back to 1951 says, “Every person before commencing the setting of fire on land shall apply in writing or in-person to an Authorised Officer for a licence to do so and shall state in his or her application the location and extent of such land and the reasons why, in his or her opinion, burning is necessary or justifiable.”

The authorising authority is the Ministry of Agriculture, but because the country is currently in a limited State of Emergency, its officers are unable to provide a licence to any person who applies.

On Wednesday, while answering questions in a police briefing, Superintendent Randy Connaught, said the burning of vegetation is prohibited. “We do have a policy on the burning of shrubs or vegetation during the dry season and police are still enforcing it.” He pointed out that a couple of days ago the fire department responded to a fire in St David. “And this resulted in one person being arrested for burning agricultural lands without the required licence from the agricultural department. So yes, the no-burn policy is still in effect and still needs to be observed by all.”

The penalty for any person who sets fire on, or procures, aids or abets the setting of fire on any land without a licence under shall be liable to a fine of $500 and to imprisonment for 3 months.

In the meantime, police have confirmed receipt of a new fire truck that will be added to the fleet. Earlier in the year, Acting Commissioner, Edvin Martin, told journalists that one of the goals in 2020 is to obtain new trucks. Specifications about the truck were not readily available.

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