As Sandals remains closed, and as hundreds of workers remain home, as taxi drivers and farmers etc. lose business, there have been several developments which I find people are simply not talking about, and I really hope to see some strong investigative reporting over the next few weeks looking into some of these developments.
First, we have seen many if not all of the cases first identified as positive, now negative, and while that is a good thing, we cannot simply dismiss it by saying well everyone must have recovered. We have to be the luckiest country in the world. This has repercussions going forward, and more serious questions have to be asked.
Secondly, after the Minister of Health identified Sandals Grenada as having breached protocols, the Prime Minister said in an interview on MTV News that there were other quarantine places that were having activities that also breached their quarantine restrictions and had to be spoken to.
I find that an incredible revelation after Sandals had been so clearly fingered as the source of the outbreak, and I am quite amazed that more questions have not been asked about that. Because if that is the case, it raises genuine questions about the actual breach, and that presents a real risk for Grenadians.
Thirdly I was a little taken aback by what appeared to be a case of ‘double standards’ with how the Sandals matter was handled, and the reports of our first COVID death. The Minister of Health and CMO blamed Sandals during the very first press briefing they had with the media, and since then we have seen the resort query how they could have done so when contact tracing etc. had not yet begun, and if we are fair, then it’s a fair question.
When it came to the case of the person who sadly lost their life, the Ministry of Health and CMO’s position was that they were still in the position of ascertaining the facts and postponed the press briefing. Well that’s exactly how such a sensitive matter should be handled. So why was Sandals treated with a different measure?
I raise these questions because I wonder if we appreciate that Sandals may not be opening anytime soon. Has anyone been asking what next? We are taking it for granted that the hotel may reopen next month, however with the new quarantine rules, with the damage done to the company’s image by the constant allegations hurled at it, and by the fact that the Ministry and CMO seem intent on this course of action, do we understand that the reality is that it may be several months before the resort opens?
Have we forgotten the pain we had to go through during the lockdown?
This brings me back to how I started this letter. If Sandals does not reopen anytime soon the airlines are going to cut back flights, hundreds of workers will remain without jobs, which will have a trickle-down effect on taxi drivers, farmers and other suppliers etc. This is a serious situation and for some reason no one is talking about it.
The Prime Minister insists that government will resist the urge to have a total lockdown, but where do we go from here?