Staff at the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation received a big thank you in the House of Assembly today, from the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, Lovitta Foggo.

In a Ministerial Statement delivered on the floor of the Lower House this morning, Ms Foggo acknowledged the department’s staff for “continuously answering the call and for operating outside of the box”.

“They definitely do ‘Make It Happen’,” said Ms Foggo, who noted that many staff joined in to help deliver unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The team worked “long hours and weekends”, she said, with staff from Work Force Development and “other Government Departments dedicated long hours and weekends to help get the benefit to those in need “as quickly as possible”.

“I must give credit where credit is due and recognize my colleague and Honourable member of this House, the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Curtis Dickinson, JP MP and his team who really drove this project and ensured that the benefit was paid out quickly to those in need,” she said.

The department was also actively involved in staging an ‘E-Camp’ for the children of essential workers.

“The purpose of the E-Camp was to provide child care for our essential workers such as medical personnel, supermarket/grocery store workers and others to ensure that they could continue working.

“The Department’s Community Centre vans were also used to assist with transporting, essential workers who are employed by the Bermuda Hospitals Board to go to and from work,” she added.

“The vans and drivers were available from 7am – 9pm Monday through Sunday.

Ms Foggo noted that schools and day care facilites closed at the beginning of April.

“The normal programs of the Department could not take place including the after school care at schools and at our and community centers,” said Ms Foggo.

“The Department offered their facilities and staff to assist the Ministry of Education in providing an E-Camp for Essential Workers.  The camps are being held at the Sammy Wilson Central Zone Community Centre and Dellwood Middle School.”

Moving forward, she said the department will continue to adapt towards the “new normal”, while working on plans for the after school programme, summer day camps and the reopening of the Community Centers and their programs.

“This planning includes consultation with the Department of Health on best practices and protocols for minimising the risk of Covid 19 transmission.

“The Department is also working with the national sports governing bodies on ensuring that their members are aware of the phased reopening of Bermuda and how that applies to sports.

“We need to get Bermuda moving again as soon as it is safe to do so.”