[Updated] “The Government will conduct an inquiry and if it is confirmed that rules were violated without reasonable excuse, sanctions will be issued,” the Government said following the circulation of videos showing a social event at a local establishment.
Videos of the event, a fundraiser for a charity, circulated on social media and appear to show a number of people, who are not wearing masks, dancing to music. A number of people have commented on the videos on social media, noting that two Cabinet Ministers, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines and Minister of Tourism and Transport Zane DeSilva, appear to be among those seen in at least one video.
A Government spokesperson said, “M.E.F. Enterprises Limited was granted a large group exemption for the Meals on Wheels charity fundraising dinner, under the Public Health [COVID-19 Emergency Powers] Regulations 2020, by the Minister of National Security.
“The exemption was granted under regulation 5 , permitting a group of more than fifty persons to assemble on Friday, July 3rd 2020 from 6:00pm to 11:00pm at the Blu Bar and Grill Restaurant and as required, a notice was placed in the Official Gazette prior to the event.
“The notice required persons to wear masks and to adhere to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. From the videos shared, it can be seen that those rules were not being adhered to at all times during the event.
“The Government will conduct an inquiry and if it is confirmed that rules were violated without reasonable excuse, sanctions will be issued under Section 7 of the Public Health [COVID-19 Emergency Powers] Regulations 2020, which permit the Minister of Health to close an establishment that does not comply with health directions.”
We have reached out to various people seeking additional comment and will update if able.
Update: A Meals on Wheels spokesperson told Bernews, “Meals on Wheels is fortunate to receive many donations from the community and we are grateful for them. Often the fundraising activity goes on without our knowledge and without our being involved. That was the case here.”
Update: The OBA has commented on this, which can be read here.
Update: Blu restaurant has commented, which can be read here.
Update 11.01pm: Premier David Burt advised that Zane DeSilva and Wayne Caines “have accepted his invitation to resign from the Cabinet.” Read the full statement here.