Is we, all ah we, to blame
Several of our recent editorials have expressed concern about the continuing spread of COVID -19 in our country, and mused on our weaknesses in following through on what had started out on a positive note.
We also raised alarm about the growing number of active cases here, which stood at 238 at the beginning of this week, compared with a combined total of ZERO for four of our neighbours – Grenada, Dominica, Anguilla and Montserrat; there is one active case in Antigua and Barbuda. Clearly we are getting something wrong.
Blame as to why we are in this position has been flying freely around the country; from captain to cook. It is so easy for most of us to come to conclusions, and usually it is that the fault lies elsewhere, not with us.
We believe that the time has come for us to take collective responsibility for this sad state of affairs and respond in like manner. Simply put, we the people must face up to the facts. Despite all our radio talk and social media postings, the only time our social responsibility matched the concerns expressed, was when infections first passed 100, or when the first deaths were recorded. Masks appeared on faces as if from nowhere, but as soon as we got accustomed to the new situation, it was back to square one.
The social atmosphere in our country is almost as though we are building up for Carnival parties and river ‘limes’; over crowded bars and restaurants and loud music are all around, to hell with COVID and Soufriere, and you can throw in dengue as well. The much publicised and inexcusable VPL T10 final was perhaps the most dramatic example of irresponsibility at all levels, with the buck for the blame being passed on from one to another.
Then there is the continuing partisan political division, so everything is seen through the prism of whether the government is right or wrong, depending on what side of the fence you sit. Much of the push back against vaccines, testing and complying with the protocols is a push back against the Government.
At the beginning of the pandemic, our reliance on persuasion and the “good sense” of our people appeared to work, but that is clearly out of sync with the times of today. All the entreaties and persuasions have not put our vaccination rate into double figures; the economic implications will be felt later, especially in the vital tourism sector and in employment.
We are literally shooting ourselves in the foot and it is all of us, not Ralph and his administration, who will suffer.
Stricter enforcement of COVID protocols and SR&Os are needed and the health, safety and economic recovery of our nation must be given priority over spurious theories, over aspirations either to claim that our government is handling COVID “better” than its neighbours, or that we are the “worst” in the region.
We have to work ourselves out of this frightful situation by everyone working together – Government, Opposition, the social partners. If not, we must prepare ourselves for grim times ahead and “Who ‘e hut, ‘e hut” as the popular calypso goes.