If I had any doubts previously about the Grenada government’s poor handling of the recent discovery of positive COVID-19 cases, then the more you hear, the more you realise what a mess this has become.
It is also becoming painfully obvious that even as the Minister of Health and CMO rushed to point fingers at Sandals Grenada as being the source of the infection but there is nothing conclusive to say 100% that the source was imported at Sandals Grenada?
This is so, especially since contact tracing is ongoing and has not yet been completed.
It gets more convoluted as in subsequent interviews we hear the Minister of Health declaring his confidence in the entry protocols of the Grenada government, while at the same time continuing to insist that the source was imported, even though he also admitted an investigation into determining the source was ongoing. So which is it?
Sandals has since defended itself indicating that the random testing was in fact initiated by the resort, and not the government as they would have us believe. Furthermore the resort noted that it paid for the random tests, so that will be pretty easy to check.
Since the government first broke the news we have seen a number of things happen.
Now we are hearing of positive cases in several other areas including St. George’s University. Interestingly these individuals are also said to have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, which means they display zero symptoms, as with the staff and guests at Sandals. This is a critical point. It means we must now seriously consider the possibility of community spread and government has to wake up and get serious about this matter, instead of just trying to pass the buck.
Isn’t it also ironic that just days after pointing fingers at Sandals, the Grenada Tourism Authority/Pure Grenada, the institution that oversees the tourism sector on behalf of the government, on Friday presented Sandals Grenada with an award for excellence in Training. If you go to the GTA website this award was presented to the Tourism provider who has gone above and beyond in training its staff to become COVID ready or to deliver excellent service. Imagine that.
Well it’s certainly is in line with what the General Manager of Sandals Grenada has said in his letter, that there have been three surprise inspections by the public health authorities and on every occasion Sandals Grenada was deemed to have met and surpassed all expectations.
So it is very clear that the CMO and the Minister of Health cannot wash their hands of this situation on Sandals alone, they were very much a part of the process and they at all times backed up the resort. Look, aside from New Zealand, I don’t know any country in this part of the world that can declare itself to be 100% COVID free, and if the government has been feeding that particular beast then it has now come back to bite them.
But here’s the real danger: Let’s suppose we do have and have always had asymptomatic people circulating in the communities. What is the situation with public testing? Have we dropped our hands on this issue and allowed it to go undetected?
Looks let’s be real – asymptomatic people do not show symptoms so you may never know they are sick unless it’s a random test, which brings me back to the situation with Sandals. If the resort had not proceeded with the random testing do you know that today we would not even be having this conversation? We would never have known.
And what if the random testing had taken place in St. George’s University first? Would the government have accused them of being the source? What if we do random testing on the other side of the island, what will we find there?
If we apply logical thinking to this situation it is very clear that the CMO and Minister of Health jumped the gun, that they opted for the blame game and painted a picture of a situation without having all the facts, and now that the horse has bolted let’s hope they are not more concerned with saving face than saving country.
If God forbid there is community spread, the government has a responsibility to determine so in order to protect citizens. Whether we can recover from the damage already done is still to be seen.