THE NEW TODAY has reasons to believe that the island’s battle with the Covid-19 virus is being affected by a lack of trust by some sections of the population among those charged with the responsibility of protecting the nation against the deadly virus.
The Minister of Health, Nicholas Steele and the Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shawn Charles have become liabilities when it comes to influencing Grenadians where Covid-19 is concerned.
These two figures are guilty of “massaging” the information that are given from officialdom to the public.
A case in point was Wednesday when Dr. Charles informed the nation that there were Covid-19 cases at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens and in the Ministry of Agriculture with the Propagation stations being forced to close their doors in St. Andrew and St. David.
It was quite noticeable that he was being very selective and stayed far away from giving information that must have been in his possession that the virus had already affected the Laboratory at the St. George’s General Hospital.
The people are openly talking about the case at the Lab but the CMO is locking down the information and keeping it away from them.
Why would the public want to take Dr. Charles at face value with information when he is openly seen to be hiding things from them?
It was no longer a secret in the United States when the media brought out the information about the “cluster” of cases in the White House in Washington and that even the then President Donald Trump was struck down by the virus.
Trump was then forced to inform the U.S public about his Covid-19 status as the most powerful man in the entire world.
But here in Grenada, Minister Steele has been trying to pursue a policy in which he is hell bent on coercing certain sections of the media to tell only his narrative of the story on Covid-19 and trying to enforce a total black-out on anything that is not approved by him.
Another case in point is the hypocrisy and double standard of the Health Minister within the past few weeks on the Covid-19 issue.
The Minister is refusing to give an interview to senior journalist Calistra Farrier on the grounds that she is not vaccinated although she is known to be always wearing a mask in the public domain.
It is clear that Minister Steele is trying to enforce Mandatory Vaccination on the population by his action.
However, Social Media was able to expose Minister Steele in public not wearing a mask along with several others in a vehicle including the controversial U.S actor Steven Segal who was visiting the island to look to invest in a theatre for the arts.
In a country that truly practices democracy, accountability and transparency, the Minister of Health would have offered his resignation to the Prime Minister instead of coming out now and talking about waiting to pay his ticket fine on a charge from the Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for breaching the very protocol that he helped draft for the population.
This filthy rich Minister has money to pay the ticket while some Grenadians who are not so fortunate to find the money to pay for a similar offence and are carted off to the Richmond Hill prison to spend time for the offence.
Incidentally, Minister Steele and his New National Party (NNP) government had purchased Reno Cinema a few years ago for over EC$1 million, spent thousands of dollars to upgrade it into a Theatre for the Arts and in no time turn around and sold it for very much less to a private sector person.
Today, they have seemingly found “a foreign investor” for a state of the art Theatre for Grenada.
THE NEW TODAY is aware that even staffers in the Ministry of Health have lost confidence and trust in both Steele and Dr. Charles and have described them as “very arrogant” and persons who believe that they know it all.
The staffers have complained of little or no meetings with these two high profile members in Health and that they behave as if they have a monopoly on knowledge and information, as well as the best approaches to handle the Covid-19 situation.
Both officials should take a little something from the words of Desiderata, “…Listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”
The time has come for the authorities to listen carefully to the many voices out there that are calling for tougher action to deal with the Covid-19 crisis on the island including a possible lockdown of the country to stem the tide of cases.
THE NEW TODAY is also suggesting that it is not too late for government to seriously engage all the Social Partners in a meaningful way to arrest the situation.
The private sector doctors should be incorporated in the fight to help build the confidence level of the population to take the vaccine to take Grenada closer to the goal of Herd Immunity.
This “go it alone, I know it best dictatorship mentality” of the Mitchell government is another failure and setback in the fight against Covid-19 as people’s lives are involved.
The failure to change course now could see similar results as the rejection by The Masses of the Mitchell regime to effect Constitutional change on two occasions as the issue became very partisan and political among the wider population.