Basseterre, Thursday, 30th July, 2020, (MyVue News.com)- Despite the current Coronavirus, the people of Anguilla will this Emancipation weekend, be hosting activities similar to their annual carnival.
In particular, there will be a j’ouvert jam session, boat racing and a concert, featuring junior and senior calypsonians, on Monday, 3rd August, which they have dubbed as, Anguilla Summer Festival, 2020-One Day Experience.
These activities usually attract visitors from nearby St. Martin. But this time, things will be different.
With carnivals and music festivals canceled all across the Caribbean this year, revelers from other territories, such as St. Martin, who often travel to Anguilla in large groups for the yearly Emancipation celebrations, have been sharing messages, inviting others to join them in a trip across the 10 mile channel.
However, this time around, local authorities have made it clear that no foreigners are welcomed.
Therefore the Government of Anguilla is taking urgent action to bolster the protection of its borders during the Emancipation weekend, following a recent voice clip allegedly from someone in St. Martin, encouraging people to cross to Anguilla for ‘August Monday’.
Both the island’s governor and newly elected premier, moved swiftly, and jointly, to remind that their borders remain close and will be that way until 31st October, 2020, “and will not be open for August Monday or any other day.”
“We ask Anguillians to be assured of our determination to protect our borders, your security and your health,” said Governor Tim Foy and Premier Dr. Ellis Webster, in a joint statement, issued on Thursday, 30th July, 2020.
That warning, however, has not yet discouraged the would be visitors, because they issued another voice clip, making it clear that they will be travelling in droves to join the frolic.
The Emancipation weekend begins this Friday, and ends on the holiday Monday.
At present, Anguilla has recorded only 3 confirmed cases, no deaths, and no recent new cases, and though they have not been enforcing social distancing protocols in recent weeks, they remain careful about imported cases.
The situation in both Dutch and French St. Maarten though, has been more risky. There have been at least 49 cases and 3 deaths on the French side of the island and 15 deaths from 126 cases in the Dutch administered section.
It was only on Monday, 27th July, 2020, that the French Prefect made it clear that if the international airport on the Dutch side is opened, as is being planned, then the border between the two territories, would be restricted to limited crossings.
The sea and air patrols already operating to protect the Anguillian borders from illegal boat landings, will be significantly strengthened during this period, said the governor and premier.
They added that “This will be a very visible and effective deterrent.”
They said that COVID-19 has caused great disruption and economic hardship to Anguilla and they will not let selfish and reckless actions of anyone, to make worthless, the sacrifices Anguillians have made to protect the island from the virus.
But one person in a circulating voice note, shot back by saying, “they would have to bring in the British to stop the boat loads heading down on the holiday Monday from St. Martin.
Main photo: Governor Tim Foy and Premier Dr. Ellis Webster