The New Today

Commentary

COVID Russian Roulette

If you are not familiar with the game of Russian Roulette, it is a most dangerous game for those who wish to dare fate and live “on the edge”. A single bullet is placed into one of the cylinders of a revolver, the main cylinder is closed and spun around several times, the muzzle of the gun is then placed to the head and the trigger is pulled. Of course, if you’re unlucky you die and if you survive then you can go again.

If you give serious thought to the COVID pandemic, it appears that the NNP government is playing a similar game with the lives of our people. While our Cabinet members and Members of parliament have themselves secured in relatively safe environments and locations of their choice, with ample access to testing and treatment, the masses are fully exposed to the deadly COVID virus.

This NNP government has subjected Grenada to what I call a Voodoo COVID Plan which despises and rejects the medically recognised principles of Testing and Tracing, Social Distancing and Quarantine.

Testing
The scientific research done on this new virus so far has revealed that the virus mutates or alters itself based on the environment in which it finds itself, and appears to grow more deadly and easier to transmit from person to person.

One feature that has not changed about the virus is that many people carry it without showing any symptoms, and so the safest way to detect the virus is by testing persons. Such an asymptomatic person, who experiences no symptoms, does not know for sure if he or she is a carrier, and then again, there is the incidence of false negatives when tests are actually done.

Why then are we not doing random sample testing throughout Grenada to be a bit surer about the situation among the people at large? A simple temperature test cannot contribute much in any serious attempt to detect the virus.

Now, without any testing, and in the absence of social distancing in our schools, this callous and careless NNP government is demanding that our children return to public schools. It is only a matter of time before the hammer hits the bullet and the destruction and death starts.

They pretended that there was some effective e-learning system in place, but the tablets never worked at all and the online classes never got off the ground. Tests are only available for persons travelling into Grenada and maybe those who have obvious symptoms.

I understand that the General Hospital has posted a price for a COVID test of over $400.00. Some people in Grenada don’t even work for that figure on a fortnightly basis. The sad truth is that at the end of the day the real persons who face the substantial threat are the parents and grandparents of these school children. In any event, tracing is after the fact; we are then looking for all the “cows that have left the pen”.

Social Distancing
What is the logic behind removing the requirement of social distancing from our schools, where we are dealing with children that we know are prone to be more careless and less appreciative of danger than adults?

Why are we so very lax about social distancing in bars and restaurants where it is easier to spread the virus due to louder talking, singing, smaller spaces and naturally body to body activities like dancing? Why try to enforce the wearing of masks in the private space of a private vehicle at all or even when it is occupied?

Can you mandate that a visitor to my private home wear a mask while in my house? Is it then just another desperate effort to raise revenue to support a tourism-based economy that is bound to be hardest hit by this virus?

It seems that common sense and logic have escaped us or that no serious thought is being applied to our situation. It is only a matter of time before our people develop the well-researched “virus fatigue” and then mass resistance to the unreasonable laws and their unreasonable application sets in. THEN only a matter of time before the hammer hits the bullet and the destruction and death starts. I greatly fear for Grenada with our underfunded medical system and our ill-equipped hospital facilities.

Quarantine and Treatment
We have all heard quite chilling reports of the manner in which the so-called quarantines are being “managed”, if that is the proper word, by the government apparatus. Persons on quarantine at the designated hotels are allowed to mix in an uncontrolled manner with other guests.

The watches which are placed on persons wrists to monitor their movement out of the quarantine zones just do not work properly or at all. This is all so very chaotic! This is all so very careless and yet we are receiving flights from the United States of America where there was an average of over 80,000.00 cases and an average death rate of about 1,000 persons per day over the last week.

We are receiving flights from the United Kingdom where a fresh lock down has been announced last weekend by the Prime Minister to take effect until the end of the year. Europe is battling another surge as they enter the winter months, which coincides with our tourist season.

Our health systems are all in shambles and we have now resorted to asking our people to give up their right to enjoy their beaches to accommodate tourists who want an exclusive bubble for their use, all for a compensation of about EC$5,000.00. How cheap have we become! I guess that the old adage, ‘beggars can’t be choosers”, applies to us in Grenada. What a shame!

Keith Mitchell has brought us from a proud revolutionary country that maintained our economic independence, free of the dictates and demands, and despite the intense economic and diplomatic pressure of the mighty United States of America, to a groveling, begging and ultra-compliant little rock of just sun, sand and sea; just a plaything stretching out its hand for the crumbs and leftovers falling from the table of the manipulators in the tourism industry.

We now resort to begging and borrowing from the Chinese with no plan to sustain the debt payment, after having abandoned our “prudent fiscal laws” that we have used for years now to deny benefits to our own people.

It is no longer the smart and brilliant Minister of Finance but now, “God go help us”! All that is required is a few overlooked cases, and then the hammer hits the bullet and the destruction and death starts.

Grenadians, I am forced to conclude that our leaders don’t really care about our health and welfare. Their only concern is about being able to say when tragedy occurs, when the hammer falls, just as Trump is now saying in the United States; “we tried our best and it could have been much worse”.

They will say, we passed laws, we tried lock down, we had to open up the country for us to survive. But the real issue is whether what was passed and tried made any real sense, whether there was any real logical and focused application by those in authority. They owe that to us as the people who have put them in charge of our democracy and in control of our lives.

In all of this I am hearing nothing about investment in, or provision for, the proper treatment of infected persons. President Trump contracted the virus and he escaped a very serious outcome because of the use of experimental drugs and top of the line treatment. We suffer a lack of even some of the most basic drugs and reagents in our main hospitals so how will we cope if the hammer hits the bullet and the destruction and death starts.

Cajeton Hood is an attorney-at-law and served as Attorney General in the 2013-18 period in government of the New National Party of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

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