Grenada is still reeling from the December 2020 shutdown which, we have to say, was precipitated in no small part by the actions then of Health Minister Nickolas Steele, and now the tourism sector is tottering on the verge of economic collapse while everyone appears to have their heads in the sand, seemingly oblivious to what may be coming.
While the Ministry of Health and Sandals now appear to resolve whatever differences they had, I cannot forget the panic and fear that Minister Steele and the CMO had heaped upon Grenadians just before Christmas, talking of a massive crisis which instead turned out to be far from the grand scale of doom and gloom they had peddled.
It caused a shutdown and lockdown, which became exacerbated by delays in resolving the matter, the result being that to this day the hospitality sector is unable to recover, while those who depend on tourism remain without income.
What I cannot understand is the deafening silence from the community, the institutions and even the media. I wonder if people have any idea of how bad things really are?
The CTO recently reported a 65% fall in visitor arrivals and if you talk with people in the hotel and tourism sector they will tell you that the industry is in a mess and that many hotels and guests houses, as well as the other businesses that depend on them are on the verge of closing their doors permanently. If you don’t believe what I am saying then I beg you to reach out to them and have an honest conversation.
There is no waiting out this virus, what is needed is strong leadership with an informed and proactive strategy, and sadly we cannot look to Mr. Steele to provide such leadership.
It is time people start informing themselves about what is going on, while we sit twiddling our thumbs and afraid to speak out against the nonsense going on, the rest of the world and indeed the rest of the Caribbean are moving on.
With the vaccinations being rolled out in the major source markets you would expect to see people travelling soon, but will Grenada catch that windfall? I don’t know because there are other islands with more astute strategies that have already left us behind. You would think by now that the Ministry of Health would be reviewing travel protocols to accommodate the changing dynamics brought about by the vaccines, but not one word from our Hon. Health Minister.
What does that mean? It means that many of those in the accommodation sector, which comprise mainly locally-owned businesses, may never recover – unless of course they get a huge financial injection. Where will this country get such financing from? Or do we intend to dive even deeper into debt?