Following the announcement that a Filipino national tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus the blogs and social groups commenced threads of conversation that allegedly stigmatized the Filipino community to the point that Premier Hon. Andrew had to call for such behavior to be halted.
Hon. Fahie criticized the stigmatizing of the Filipino community while speaking in the House of Assembly on 18 April. The BVI Leader said, “We cannot bad talk the Filipino because one of them tested positive, we have to stop this as a nation. They are human beings no matter what happened with it, no matter how it went down, that’s not what God wants for this country.”
While the official announcement identified the victim by nationality and gender, persons in the community commenced circulating the photo of the victim and the building in which she resided.
This was also criticized by the Premier who explained that there was no reason for persons to do this, “Yes, we might not like how certain things happen, yes certain things might not gone how we like, but it is what it is,” Hon Fahie said.
Such actions were also blasted by His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert in a statement on 18 April. While announcing the death of the patient the Governor stated, “I deplore some of the social media circulating about the recently confirmed case, who has since sadly died. This despicable behaviour does not in any way represent the views of the people of the BVI. It may also be illegal behaviour and the police will investigate should crimes under our Computer Misuse Act have been committed.”His Excellency added, “This is also a moment for showing the great community spirit and unity that we have in the British Virgin Islands. This disease respects no boundaries of income, gender, race, or nationality. It does not care if you are a resident, work permit holder, belonger or visitor. We will get through these times by acting together and collectively. No one should have any fear of, or delay coming forward to report health concerns through the health telephone line, or to seek treatment. There is no stigma attached to having the virus. And there should be no stigmatising of any individuals or communities in this Territory. We are only one community – the people of the British Virgin Islands and we will beat this virus as one community.”