Editorials

The COVID-19 fear!!!

There is undoubtedly an air of fear in the country with confirmation that Grenada is now on the official list of countries around the world with the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Health Minister Nicholas Steele brought the bad news on Sunday when he provided information that a Grenadian woman who was living in the United Kingdom and who returned home on March 16 had tested positive for the virus.

Many Grenadians were also uneasy in recent weeks when news reached our shores that another woman from England who passed through the island a few days earlier and spent seven days here had tested positive for the virus in St. Lucia.

THE NEW TODAY will not enter into the debate as to whether the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell should not have taken decisive action since then when it became known that the person was now affected by the virus.

This newspaper is more concerned with the lackluster manner in which the government treated its own directives to nationals to engage in “social distancing” and for no mass gathering of persons in excess of 50 at events.

It is clear that the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) as the major law enforcement body on the island has a serious and significant role to play in making that a reality.

This was certainly not the case at the recent “police funeral” in River Sallee in St. Patrick when the son of a policewoman and a former revolutionary leader of the country was laid to rest.

All reports point to a massive “happy hour” event involving the police themselves after the body was laid to rest.

What was more telling and frightening is that the woman who tested positive for the virus left England to come to Grenada for that particular funeral.

If Minister Steele is to be believed that the individual started to show signs of being affected by the virus on the day after her arrival then how come this lady was not put into isolation or quarantined in order to keep her away from the funeral and the associated mass gathering?

Where are the two Members of Parliament for St. Patrick in all of this? Did they partake in the event? Did they know about the Happy Hour and did they advice the people that the government was against mass gatherings in light of the COVID-19 situation?

The same questions should be asked about the wedding event that took place on the sister isle of Carriacou a few days ago involving a woman who flew in from England to get married to a ‘local boy’.

It is well known by now that several persons from Carriacou who live in the United Kingdom came down on the same flight on March 13 with the COVID-19 victim for the wedding.

This newspaper has picked up information that these people were among the large gathering at the “fete” on the beach on the sister isle as part of the wedding ceremony.

The Member of Parliament for Carriacou & Petite Martinique is a Cabinet Minister and is part of the group of State officials who meet weekly to take decisions for the welfare of the nation and to help prepare citizens for the battle against the virus.

What did the female parliamentarian do to try and prevent this kind of a gathering on the beach in light of her own government’s directive to the country on “Social Distancing”?

The government by its own actions has not instilled confidence in the people that it is on top of the COVID-19 game.

There was an announcement on Sunday night that the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) was being closed to air traffic.

However, on Tuesday an Air Canada flight landed at the airport to pick up Canadian nationals who were apparently stranded on the island.

All the government had to do was put out a simple release that Air Canada was being allowed in for a one-off flight to pick up Canadians and to lessen the hysteria that the airport was still opening for flights despite the ban.

This newspaper was also told of a Jet Blue flight that landed at MBIA on Sunday to bring in a number of passengers and from all indications persons from the hotspot area of New York landed and were never checked by medical personnel.

The information in our possession is that a top member of the NNP support group in New York who is known to be engaged in a job that exposes him to the virus came in on the flight, walked through the airport, picked up a parcel and went back on the same flight.

How can the government instill confidence in our people in the fight against the virus when this kind of lawlessness is so prevalent in the country?

The role of the Acting CMO will also come under the microscope by the kinds of statements and information that he was peddling in the public domain during this virus crisis.

Why would Dr. Francis Martin want the people to believe that the county should only be concerned with persons sitting close to the March 16 COVID-19 patient? Doc, it appears that this person sat on the 9-hour flight in her seat all the way and never visited the wash room for one second?

The government has definitely given the impression that it is prepared to put dollars before the health of the nation by taking too long to shutdown the points of entry into Grenada.

Is it by accident that in the Prime Minister’s national address on Friday night, he never talked about COVID-19 health measures for the people but only about money even if he did not have parliamentary approval for his mini-budget?

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