Nevis’ Premier Addresses Assembly
April 18, 2020
A resolution by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to approve a resolution adopted by the National Assembly on April 17, 2020, to extend the state of emergency to combat the threat of COVID-19 to St. Christopher and Nevis for up to six months effective April 18, received safe passage at an emergency sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on April 18, 2020.
In his presentation, Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis who brought the resolution, stated that the move was necessary to provide the legal underpinning to implement the continuation of the state of emergency in Nevis.
“We are doing all that we can to respond to an unprecedented threat. Something you or I nor anyone in this room has ever seen before, and the unprecedented nature of the threat means there is no play book. There is no encyclopaedia that we can take from the shelf and say ‘When COVID come, this is the way you respond…’
“Every day we are tweaking. We are adjusting. We are trying to get it right and that’s because there is no manual. So we have to continually be agile, and again that is why we have the benefit of the state of emergency, to allow us the legal room to maneuver. So when we can tell people stay off the roads, stay in your homes, we have a legal underpinning for it, and we could not run the risk that that underpinning is secured on St. Christopher but on Nevis because of [Section] 19 [subsection] 4, the argument is made that it doesn’t any longer apply to Nevis and so that’s why we are here today,” he said.
During the sitting, Hon. Cleone Stapleton Simmonds was also sworn in as the newest member of the parliament and the sole member of the Opposition. The occasion came after she was victorious in a by-election on March 05, 2020 to become the new parliamentary assembly representative for Nevis 5, St. Thomas’ (Lowlands).
Mrs. Stapleton Simmonds, who was welcomed to the assembly by other members, used the opportunity to thank all who were instrumental in ensuring her safe journey to the Assembly.
“It is indeed an honor for me to stand before you today and to set my footing in this honorable house. As a child this was perhaps a dream of mine that I perhaps did not foresee in this near future. I did anticipate that perhaps this dream might have come true at some point when I was perhaps in my mid-forties but it is indeed a pleasure for me to stand here just being the mere age of 37 and perhaps being the youngest member of this honorable parliament…
“It is also indeed an honor for me to stand here also being a female and I am very pleased to join with the nominated member Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams.
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank God Almighty for giving me the guidance, the strength and the wisdom to be able to successfully embark on this journey. I also wish to thank my predecessor the Hon. Joseph Parry for laying the foot path for me to be able to follow into his footsteps.
“I thank my immediate family: my husband and my son who are present here today, as well as my father and my two siblings who were able to grace us with their presence this morning,” she said.
Also present at the sitting presided over by Hon. Farrel Smithen, President of the Assembly were Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis; Hon. Eric Evelyn; Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams; Hon. Troy Liburd; and Mrs. Hélène Lewis, Legal Advisor to the NIA.
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.