by Linda Straker
- State of Emergency extended until May 2022
- Senator Matthew Joseph described it as a proactive measure
- Senator Roderick St Clair called on Government to consider other variables and factors
The members of the Upper House of Parliament have given their unanimous approval for Grenada’s State of Emergency to be extended until May 2022. The extension will ensure that the country can quickly enforce new regulations under the Emergency Powers Act if there is an uncontrollable outbreak of Covid-19.
The approval from the members of the Senate came amidst passionate debate during a special session on Thursday, 4 November 2021 but in the end, they all concluded that approving the resolution is in the best interest of the nation.
Senator Matthew Joseph described it as a proactive measure that people are not accustomed to see happening. “We are a reactive society, so I understand the concerns being expressed by some,” Joseph said in his deliberation while contributing to the Resolution which was presented to members by Senator Norland Cox, Acting Leader of Government Business in the Senate. Joseph also wants the Government to come up with a plan for going forward because Covid-19 will be around for a long time and the aim now should be living with the virus in this new normal.
Despite, lending his support, Senator Roderick St Clair who represents the farming and fishing communities in the House called on Government to consider other variables and factors that are linked both directly and indirectly to living under a State of Emergency because the impact of Covid-19 is not just in the number of deaths or persons recovered, but in the development of the country.
Grenada declared a State of Emergency in March 2020 as part of measures aimed at containing and controlling the spread of Covid-19. In April 2020, the Parliament approved a 6-month extension which ended in October 2020. However, due to a small outbreak in December 2020 another State of Emergency was declared and since then it has been extended every 6 months.
Because there is a State of Emergency enforced, the Emergency Powers Act provides for the Cabinet to approve regulations under which citizens must live. The latest regulations provide for among other things a curfew from midnight to 4 am, wearing of mask or appropriate face-covering in public space as well as applying 6-feet physical distancing in businesses and churches.