The New Today

Commentary

COVID-19 ignites political tribalism in Grenada

I am very much disappointed with some Grenadians, the way they are behaving as the coronavirus spread globally. I just cannot understand why some Grenadians are trying to make the pandemic disease a political issue, even though in developed countries medical scientists are struggling to eradicate the virus to save lives.

There is the possibility it could be natural politics or too many emotions but it is sad to see how some educated Grenadians were trying their best to create an atmosphere of fear and hopelessness among the general population, even before the first coronavirus case on March 22, 2020, when a visitor from Britain, tested positive for the virus.

And the funny thing is that, after the government reported the first case of the disease on Grenadian soil all the critics became silent. They stop protest on social media about their great concern for the health and safety of Grenadians in Grenada arising from the infected person, a British citizen who arrived on the island with the virus.

I can only assume that some of them were hoping for the virus to affect local citizens on Grenadian soil to create an atmosphere of fear among the general population to trigger anti-government sentiment. However, I just cannot understand why they intend to mix politics with a coronavirus.

I can remember when the disease started to spread in the Caribbean, some Grenadians were phoning me, and asking me, if the disease has already hit Grenada. Some of them were even giving fake news about how many people they heard about, who were infected by the virus and the government is covering up the medical results as a secret.

My response was and still is that the government can’t cover up a pandemic in a small country like Grenada.

Unfortunately, most of them became upset with me and accused me of supporting the government because deep inside, they wanted to hear bad news coming from Grenada – saying coronavirus is killing Grenadians because the government was not prepared to deal with such a major disaster.

The critics had the belief that because they are living in North America and Europe they were safe and protected from the virus. They thought America and Europe were fully prepared and well equipped to curb the disease until they realise that in reality, their chances of becoming infected with the disease are at a higher risk than people in the Caribbean islands, as we can see presently the number of deaths in America and Europe.

Then again, I remember some of them who told me that the government should stop Chinese nationals from coming to Grenada, even before the disease started affecting people in North America and Europe and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had not declared the virus pandemic. And when I said – it was too early for the government to close the doors on Chinese visitors. Not long after I was accused of supporting the government.

Besides, some Grenadians back home were making demands, asking the government to discuss the situation with members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the second largest political party in Grenada, even though the NDC does not have an elected member of parliament in the lower house. So, it was more melee again, even though their idea had some good merits to it.

Now the latest political controversy is between Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves about inter-island shopping, dealing with the pandemic virus, plus a little bit of envy and grudged trading competition.

What’s more, there are some Grenadians who are applauding Gonsalves wild card behaviour. Therefore, one can say that there is never a dull moment in Grenada’s politics. All because Grenadians are too politically arrogant, emotional and still struggling to accept democracy and the rule of law, per the Constitution.

Hudson George is a Grenadian who obtained a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean publications.