The entire population of the tri island state of Grenada were robbed of the joys of Christmas because of the remarkable ineptitude of the government in its fight to protect the country against Covid-19.
As early as June this year, government was warned not to ‘bet the house on tourism’ because of its risky nature during a respiratory disease pandemic where the virus is spread by humans as host.
In late July after the Institute for Health Matrix and Evaluation (IHME) published the results of its modeling which revealed a very intense second and third wave of the virus in the winter months in North America and Europe, the island’s main source markets for tourists, the government was warned again of the dangerous consequences of focusing on tourism in the reopening of the economy.
With various marketing studies out of the United States indicating that tourists likely to travel during the pandemic are Republicans who believe the virus is a hoax and are not likely to wear masks while on vacation, the government was ‘playing with fire’ by pursuing the tourism path.
What was even more irresponsible and reckless is that, in the face of this danger to the population, government would turn around and design entry protocols with gaping loopholes that exposed our poor hotel workers to the virus.
Government officials are avoiding discussing the real problem with the protocol and the hopeless set of journalists in the local media are either oblivious or failing, as the ‘Fourth Estate’ to hold them accountable.
That is the protocol allowing tourists to enter the island, go to a hotel or villa and allowed to stay on property for the duration of stay without having to do a second PCR test four (4) to five (5) days after arrival is where the virus is given an opportunity to jump from tourists to hotel worker and into the community.
You see, none of the health officials who like to parade on television and zoom like ‘circus horses’ have never spoken to the problem of the thirty (30) percent false negative result of PCR testing highlighted in highly respected medical journals. That is three (3) out of ten (10) times a test result can say negative when the person tested is actually positive – that is thirty (30) percent of the tourists who arrive on the island and go straight to the ‘Pure Grenada hotels’ could actually be positive for Covid-19.
Additionally, tourists who received a negative PCR test result in order to travel to Grenada can get infected in the 72 hours after taking the test and traveling to the island unknowingly carrying the virus. If that tourist does not take a second test four (4) to five (5) days after arriving on island, he or she will spread the virus to hotel workers.
This is essentially the gaping loophole in the entry protocol and our health officials are reluctant to discuss it, high government officials are extremely reticent on the matter and the press are failing in their duty to hold government accountable.
Since you are the captain of the team and chief decision maker, the buck stops with you. Therefore you are the Grinch who stole the people’s Christmas by giving the virus an opportunity to jump from tourists to hotel workers and into the community.
The captain should have listened to what Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, ‘ there is a certain predictability of the virus but anytime you become complacent and you think you know, it will surprise you. And when this virus has an opportunity it will take advantage, every advantage that it can to resurge to transmit’.
By being reckless, irresponsible and heartless, with your decision making, you have not only stolen the joys of the festivities of Christmas from the people, you are denying young people the right to a decent education, small business people including restaurants the full right to conduct business, and workers who have been laid off, as a result of the restrictions, the right to work.
As the Grinch you have also scared the ‘living hell’ out of citizens by selling out the country’s assets to foreigners, introducing policies that create conditions of intense poverty and dependency in rural areas and urban enclaves, a society where foreigners and light skinned people have more rights than locals, and young professionals are hypnotised by ‘eat ah food’ mentality and ‘get rich quick culture’, away from paying attention to the real problems of society.
Sitting on Mt Crumpet in the Victoria mountain range with your companion dog Max you continue to look down on the City of Whoville, Grenada with lack of empathy and respect for all of its citizens. When would this nightmare of the Grinch end? When would the villagers of Whoville wake up from their slumber? How long would this nightmare continue?