Align travel protocols with int’l recommendations: Dr. Worrell

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, has urged the current administration of Barbados to align the protocols for all aspects of travel and all social interaction with the recommendations of recognised international bodies.

Worrell, now an international economic consultant, made the recommendation in his January economic newsletter, the first of 2021. He stated in the newsletter that he had made certain suggestions to the Government before COVID-19 appeared and brought international travel to a standstill, but now priorities must be made urgently.

“Overnight, the tourism industry of Barbados sunk to levels we have not seen in the modern era. The most urgent need is to set in place arrangements for all aspects of travel and the visitor experience, sufficient to restore tourism to pre-COVID levels, in the current circumstances. We do not have the liberty of waiting until there is herd immunity from COVID-19 in North America and the UK,” stated Worrell.

The former governor explained that the international protocols, which are needed for the resumption of cross-border travel, have not yet been agreed. He however put forward that despite this, a resumption of international travel is essential for reviving tourism and without a revival of tourism, an increasing number of domestic businesses will join those that have already gone under in Barbados.

“Therefore, the most urgent priority for the Barbados Government is to align our protocols for all aspects of travel and all social interaction with the emerging recommendations of recognised international bodies – the World Health Organisation, the International Air Transport Association, the World Travel and Tourism Council, and other authoritative bodies,” the governor stated in the economic letter.

He also added that the Government should become more active in the councils and decisions of these international organisations, saying that the international organisations provide the best platform for Barbados to have a voice in the decisions that affect our tourism.

The international economic consultant also recommended that the Barbados Government needs to contract with reputable international companies to devise and implement suitable arrangements for the reception of visitors, testing, quarantine and tracing, social protocols and upgrades to our health system, arrangements that are adequate to minimise the risk of COVID spread.

“The events of the past few days are testament to the need for upgrades to our systems. It was inevitable that we would encounter difficulties, given the weaknesses in the design and implementation of Barbados’ health management responses to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Worrell ended his statement by addressing the people of Barbados, “In order to get through this crisis we must all act responsibly, and we must also insist that those who administer our health services, and public services in general, up their game to an acceptable standard of performance.” (AS)

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