(CNS): The governor praised the PACT government for its handling during the final months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as he delivered a brief Speech from the Throne to Parliament on Friday. Martyn Roper said his third such speech, like his first two, would not be a traditional throne speech setting out the government’s agenda, as it was “the business of the elected government”.
Instead, he focused on the pandemic and praised many people involved. He praised outgoing chief medical officer Dr John Lee, Travel Cayman and Prime Minister Wayne Panton, who had skillfully guided Cayman through the challenges and put the jurisdiction on the road to recovery, he said.
“Governments around the world have found this time to be incredibly difficult to govern. In recent weeks, we have had to deal with widespread cases of community transmission of COVID, ”he said, adding that his prayers were with those hospitalized and paid tribute to healthcare workers.
“I understand why the peak of cases is unsettling for our community which has lived for so long in one of the safest bubbles in the world.” But he said the unusually high vaccination rate was a major achievement of the government, which, along with lateral flow testing, was keeping people safe.
He praised the civil service’s tireless work and efforts to open up the borders, which he said was a difficult decision for the government but the right decision “as we learn to live with COVID”. Roper also offered his support for a one-time cruise ship visit, which has drawn widespread public criticism on social media in recent days.
The governor said news of a new variant of the coronavirus “was a matter of great concern” but was not yet an undue alarm.
He said the UK’s commitment to the Overseas Territories remained constant and vaccines would continue to arrive so the booster program could be rolled out to all adults. He said epidemiologists will soon be coming here from the UK for two weeks to help with the data, and we will also have access to the UK’s limited supplies of the latest COVID therapeutic and antiviral drugs.
Roper also announced that a temporary replacement has been found for Dr Lee, who will leave at the end of the year. He said he had supported Cayman in recruiting the former UK Health Security Agency’s Overseas Territories adviser, Dr Autilia Newton, to take on the role temporarily.
The governor also mentioned the COP26, the London JMC and the ongoing partnership between Great Britain and the territories, and various upcoming initiatives, particularly around climate change.
Read the governor’s full speech in the SNC Library.
Watch the governor’s full address on CIGTV below: