“As a Government it is our intention to provide regular updates on key developments and decisions in a timely manner. We want to ensure that you are kept abreast of what is happening across Government and indeed the wider Montserrat community. That is why I am here this morning, as I wish to update you on a number of government activities taking place now and in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow is Wednesday March 17—a significant day for us on Montserrat for more reasons than one. It is St. Patrick’s Day, but it also marks one year since the Minister of Health and myself had the unenviable task of reporting Montserrat‘s first positive case of Covid-19 last year (in 2020). As we are all aware, following that confirmation, and over the following months we recorded 12 cases and unfortunately one fatality. Our thoughts and prayers are always with families who have suffered loss as a result of COVID-19.
Following that first wave of the virus, the island did not record any new cases for a seven-month period; and we were one of the few countries in the world to boast of such an achievement. But this did not happen coincidentally; but rather a collective effort by the hard working professionals in the Ministry of health and you the law abiding citizens of this country, who in spite of the discomfort caused by the various measures and protocols put in place, understood that they were in your best interest and you complied.
There is a light at the end of those dark days of 2020 which resulted in the disruptions of our lives, we now have a chance for Montserrat to revert to normality. If the border is to be fully opened, if we are to welcome back tourist to our shores and if other economic activities are to take off, we must first protect ourselves, our loved ones and the entire population.
“THE VACCINE IS AVAILABLE”, “IT IS FREE”! And “IT IS SAFE” Together let us restore hope to this country— Please register and take your Vaccine.
As of Friday March 12, a total of 1078 persons have registered to receive the vaccine. 1001 persons have received their first dose and 130 persons have received their second dose. I am included in those numbers.
Now as we are in the St. Patrick’s week of activities, I must end on that note.
This year St. Patrick’s celebration is taking the form of virtual presentations, and the traditional St Patrick’s Day slave feast will have a different approach as announced by the Montserrat Arts Council.
However next year 2022, we are anticipating the return of an in person St. Patrick’s Festival even bigger and better than before, so save the date in your calendars. Once countries around the world begin to reap the benefits of the vaccination roll out then St Patrick’s celebration will return to what it was pre COVID-19! We will be celebrate together.
I also want to go further, Festival 2021 is another date in my calendar and I want you to put it in your calendar as well, we can have Festival 2021 if we adhere to the rules; if we take our vaccine; if 80% of the population is inoculated, then come December 2021 we will all celebrate again. That is the hope I have for you. That is the hope I want you to have for yourself, but you have to help us to help you because together we can.
HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY to all of you!”
Excerpts from National Address Delivered by Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell