Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley listens to a question from a member of the audience during a meeting with stakeholders to discuss matters relating to the coronavirus at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley met for nearly three hours with a wide-cross section of stakeholders on Wednesday to discuss matters relating to the coronavirus, and to ascertain their views as to whether the borders should be closed.

The stakeholders included owners of capital, such as hoteliers, restauranteurs and the business community; captains of industry; public service vehicle operators; trade union officials; as well as members of the credit union and the banking communities.

Many of the stakeholders who spoke during the discussions said the survival of citizens was critical, and proffered the view that the borders should not be closed at this time.

They suggested, however, that Barbados should continue with its stringent screening at the ports of entry, and testing where necessary.

Ms. Mottley said she would have additional consultations with other stakeholders before an informed decision was made.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of the discussions, which were held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

She said: “This country must act as one; it does not mean we will agree on everything, but we have to agree to act as one. We have to agree that discipline must attend the affairs of the nation at all levels because the consequences of not doing so may be dire ….

“There are concerns about the borders and it is my judgement that before this Government takes decisions, and we accept that it is our duty and our right to take them, that it is also our duty to hear from as wide a stakeholder public as possible, because what we are being asked to do will have significant implications across the board for all, and we must know what we are asking for before we complete it.”

During a national interview on Monday, the Prime Minister gave the assurance that she and her team would have dialogue with stakeholders who depend on open borders.

She said then that the Ministry of Health, PAHO, CARPHA, and WHO had been consistent in stating that they did not know when the pandemic would end, and health authorities had advised about not closing borders.

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