The Party Leader and members extend sincere condolences to the families and friends of those we have lost to Covid-19 so far and wish everyone now battling the disease a complete and speedy recovery. The entire NDC family extends heartfelt thanks and solidarity to all our workers on the frontline. Our people cannot thank you enough for the sacrifices you make, putting your own lives at risk to protect and save ours.
Since issuing our last statement on August 21, 2021, in response to the Prime Minister’s address the day prior, we in the NDC have noted with growing concern, the deepening of the Covid-19 crisis, evidenced by the rapid rise in positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
We restate our commitment to support the efforts of government and the wider community in the fight against Covid-19. While we will be remiss not to point out certain deficiencies in the handling of the crisis, when we do, it is done to encourage and influence improvement, not merely to criticize and cast blame. Indeed, in many respects, government has taken on board some recommendations made by us. We again call for genuine inclusion of all sectors in the struggle to overcome this national crisis. Many of our people who are not employed with or directly connected to government or the ruling party, can make meaningful contributions.
As the situation worsens, we urge everyone to take individual responsibility for your safety and that of your family, by following the safety protocols in place. However, the NDC recognizes that there are vulnerable people in our community who cannot look after themselves. They need the government’s help to remain safe: the elderly, the infirm, the indigent and our children, especially those who do not have family to help care for them. The government must therefore act responsibly and with compassion in looking after the safety needs of our people
To ensure that all our people are well cared for in this difficult period, we first urge the fair distribution of any relief package rolled out. NDC recommends that some of the funds allocated to the relief package, be set aside to provide food items for our most vulnerable, especially those directly impacted by Covid-19. To this end, we recommend that local produce should be bought from our farmers, poultry farms and fisherfolk and included in care packages for the vulnerable. What we face is a national emergency and as such, the resources, and personnel of NaDMA should be utilized. That agency ought to be more obviously involved in managing the current crisis, including ensuring that our most vulnerable get relief, just like in times of other disasters.
The NDC again calls on government to revisit its flawed policy of allowing the vaccinated who enter our shores, to freely mingle with the population after only 48 hours (or less) in quarantine. We strongly urge that the quarantine period be increased to 5 days at minimum, since the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can spread the virus.
Getting the worsening situation under control will not come about only by increasing the quarantine period. Experience shows that the less people move, the less the virus spreads. We know that the Delta variant is highly transmissible and much more virulent than the earlier strains. The current state of things, with most places remaining opened and entities on their own, deciding when and in what circumstances they will close, does not allow for an orderly and systematic tackling of the virus. Several businesses and the church community have done the right thing by temporarily closing their doors and we commend them for this. The Public Workers Union has already voiced its strong concern about workers being required to work in compromised environments and then having to travel home on crowded buses. These conditions favour the continued spread of the virus.
We believe that it is necessary to impose some restrictions on movement, in the form of a lockdown of non-essential services. In this regard, we support the measures just announced for the temporary closure of certain entities. However, we believe that these steps will not achieve the desired goal. The NDC suggests that in addition to the measurers announced, government offices and the private sector should allow for remote work where possible, until the spread in brought under control.
We understand the impacts that such measures can have, but difficult problems often require difficult solutions. We believe that the health and lives of our people are valuable above all. When we have defeated Covid-19, we will require a healthy population to rebuild our nation. Our suggestion of a relief effort providing care packages, funded by the relief package, led by NDMA will help to ease the hardship that restrictions on movement will cause.
It is incumbent on everyone to co-operate with the authorities including the police, contact tracers, medical personnel, and other officials of the Ministry of Health. We encourage you to get your information from official sources and help curb the spread of disinformation. Follow the protocols that will keep you safe. Regularly wash and sanitize your hands, maintain the required 6ft distancing and wear your mask properly. As before, we encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated choosing one of the two available options. It is a plain fact, and the statistics show that by a large margin, the vaccinated who get Covid-19 are fearing much better than the unvaccinated.
We are a strong, positive, and resilient people. NDC is confident that together we will win the fight against Covid-19 and build a stronger, better Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
May God bless our nation.
National Democratic Congress (NDC)