Phew… Sigh! What a tumultuous week! We can’t just breeze past like this wasn’t an eventful week. Actually, it was a week of reckoning. The country saw a record number of new Covid-19 infections and deaths that were alarming. Coupled with the strong mandate on vaccination to enter public spaces and the “jeck and bolt” in the opposition party, amid other happenings, this week certainly raised our anxieties and our frustrations. In desperate anticipation of a reprieve for our blood pressure levels, we waited for an address on the state of affairs and, albeit late in the night, one did come — though succinct and stern. We are a country in dire straits; but even amidst the crisis, the address to the nation made one thing clear: nuh touch the money!
As I listened intently to the nine-minute address, one could surmise from the tone and the hand gestures in the speech that the situation is grave — dire. And possibly, we got here (purportedly) because of our sheer lack of adherence to best health practices coupled with a refusal by a large number of citizens to get inoculated. So as a consequence of such, and as a matter of exigency as it relates to public health, the Prime Minister had to address the nation and announce new measures and impositions on the populace. Okay, fair enough! But what particularly struck me was that some jurisdictions were exempted. Now that sent alarm bells ringing and sirens blazing and the masses were left befuddled. But why?
Well, the logical reason that one can surmise is very simple: despite the public health crisis that we face, don’t touch the money! I mean to say, I wish it weren’t so, but when all these new regulations were announced, San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Hopkins and Placencia received an anointed pardon — a full unmitigated exemption. Therefore, is it that Covid-19 doesn’t like to ride boat? Is it that a trip to Hopkins or Placencia is too long a drive for Covid to take? Does the barrier reef provide a buffer from Covid to enter the islands and the cayes? I don’t understand the logic and, quite frankly, I muse at such a conjecture. But when you sit quizzically and analyze that move, you realize that it is in those places that the money lies!
Exempting these places from the new restrictions was an astute and crafty act. It was quite adroit. It’s like having your cake and eating it too. But this doesn’t sit right with the populace at all. It’s a blatant form of double standards. It’s a slap in the face to all the other struggling businesses and ailing establishments in the other areas and places under restriction. It’s a gross disrespect to the residents in the areas where the restrictions are imposed who are called to make sacrifices for the “country” when others appear to be anointed and will enjoy a treatment of regality. That is absolutely ludicrous at best!
You know what will happen? You want to know what this will cause? It will lead to a “travel herding”. It will lead to people “flocking” to these exempted zones. These anointed areas will see an upsurge in residents traveling to these places, and the virus will continue to move. You don’t just give 4 of your children dessert on a Sunday and starve the next six and force them to watch the others enjoy their dessert. They will sneak a piece to the others. When desperate times require desperate measures, then we suffer together. If everybody can’t get a piece of the dessert, then nobody should get — nobody!
But you see, the thing is this: Despite the crisis, you can’t touch the money! You see? We are squeezing our right hand, but leaving the left hand wide open. And that will lead to severe problems. The economy is indeed important, but the situation is dire and the matter of public health is far more important. In seeking to appease tourists and travelers to bolster the economy, we will end up in a far worse situation where many more will get sick and sadly, more will lose their lives. If we are to take drastic measures, we need to take it together! All for one and one for all. Mek wi get wi act togeda and lock this thing down now, in an effort to contain and mitigate the spread. If we seriously mean business, there can be no sacred cows! We are in crisis, fix it!
Unchained Reflections Of A Liberal Pragmatist