(MENAFN- Caribbean News Global)
Port in Bequia
By Caribbean News Global contributor
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — Three ports of entry into St Vincent and the Grenadines, namely Union Island, Canouan, and Bequia were closed 7:00 p.m. on March 27, 2020, on the advice of the Commander of the Coast Guard Service until further notice.
This decision was taken to redirect resources on specific border security matters, including but not limited to multiple incidents on Friday, March 27:
- The illegal entry into Cumberland by a yacht, the captain of which was advised by the Coast Guard to leave immediately.
- Aggressive conduct towards the State authorities by the captain and crew of an American-registered vessel which failed to clear Customs and Immigration in a timely manner. This vessel was eventually escorted south of the waters of St Vincent and the Grenadines by the Coast Guard Service of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
- The refusal by the crew and passengers on two vessels berthed in Bequia (one an American-flagged vessel; the other, Canadian-flagged) to be quarantined consequent upon their interaction with customs, immigration, port security, and health authorities. They were thus denied entry. The vessels were then escorted by the Coast Guard Service out of the waters of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
'As a consequence of the closure of these three ports of entry, following upon an earlier closure of the Chateaubelair port of entry, all yachts are required to enter at one of three ports on St Vincent, namely Kingstown, Blue Lagoon, and Wallilabou.
'The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines urges all owners, operators, crew, and passengers of yachts to cooperate with the State authorities. If there is any attempt to circumvent the integrity and laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines, especially at the time of COVID-19, the government will take further action promptly.
'The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is determined to protect the people … and expect reasonableness and cooperation from those engaged in yachting; if they do not, the government will respond appropriately and firmly,' the statement said.
Meanwhile, all music permits (amplified in public or private places) have been cancelled on the island until further notice by the authority vested in the commissioner of police under Section 17 of the Noise Act – Laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
'Members of the public are further advised to adhere to the social distancing guidelines that have been issued by the ministry of health and the environment. Please stay safe and act responsibly at all times,' the statement declared.
There have been cancellations of several major events in St Vincent and the Grenadines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of publication, no official communication was available on Carnival 2020.
St Vincent and the Grenadines recorded one case of the COVID-19. Work is progressing on the refurbishing of a house in the Argyle – Mt Pleasant area to be used as the quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients . The centre will be retrofitted 'to accommodate a maximum of 24 patients — 14 upstairs and ten downstairs with support facilities.'
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