State Secretary Raymond Knops. (Rijksoverheid photo)
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS--State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops will be travelling to St. Eustatius and Saba on Tuesday, November 3, and Wednesday, November 4, to meet with members of the Island and Executive Councils of these two islands.
State Secretary Knops will also visit a number of projects on Statia, such as the renovation of the Smoke Alley hairpin, the Road to Jeems, the water tank of utility company STUCO, the construction of the new airport, the Hospitainer and the Cherry Tree road project.
Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Entities St. Eustatius and Saba have implemented a specific COVID-19 protocol before and during the state secretary’s visit.
Knops will meet the five recently elected Island Council members in Statia on Tuesday afternoon. These are Rechelline Leerdam, Reuben Merkman, Clyde van Putten, Adelka Spanner and Koos Sneek. After these meetings, the visits to the various projects will be taking place. Knops and his delegation will leave Statia on Wednesday morning, to continue their trip to Saba.
The COVID-19 protocol states that a recent COVID-PCR test has to be conducted within 72 hours before the visit to the two islands in the Caribbean Netherlands and that the result of that test must be negative. Delegation members were tested before leaving the Netherlands and will also be tested during their visit on Curaçao today, Monday, prior to their visit to Statia.
Delegation members who have been positively tested will not be allowed to enter Statia or Saba. Upon arrival of the five-member delegation, there will be a briefing at the airports about the procedures to be followed. During their visit, the delegation will stay in their quarantine location when there are no meetings planned, and in accordance with the quarantine rules that apply on Statia and Saba.
The rules for Statia are stated in the 16th Emergency Ordinance, which was published last week. All meals consumed by the delegation must take place at their quarantine location. Transport of the delegation takes place in separate designated vehicles, in which no island residents will be present. This means that the delegation members will be driving themselves.
A face mask must be worn at all times when they are outside the quarantine location. If a delegation member displays any symptoms during their visit, including minor symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, the member will not be allowed to leave the quarantine location and a medical examination and a COVID test will take place. The measures taken are in alignment with recent visits of other vital workers.
During the visits to the projects the members of the visiting delegation and all other attendees must wear a face mask and ensure regular hand washing and/or the use of hand sanitizers.
The public entities will maintain the local contacts limited by not having too many local personnel involved with the state secretary’s visit.
At all times, an appropriate distance will be required, where possible of 1.5 metres. Local organizations that will meet the delegation members will be informed in advance about the rules of conduct to be applied.