Eyewitness: Opening up…

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…on COVID-19

When we opened up our airports last October, many persons were up in arms even though the Government had instituted a welter of measures within an overarching regime to reduce the importation of the COVID-19 virus and its ever-mutating variants. Of course, the Government was taking a risk – but that’s the case with all initiatives. The point is to weigh those risks, minimise them to the best of one’s ability and proceed once it is decided that not to do so would redound to the greater detriment of the greater good.

At the time we opened up our airports, Trinidad made the contra decision –- even in the face of thousands of their citizens being left stranded in foreign lands –- including Guyana. Many locals pointed to PM Keith Rowley of Trinidad as a more “responsible” leader. Well, Trinidad has finally opened up its airport and accepted a number of stranded Trinis from Guyana via CARIBBEAN Airways. So maybe we can compare and contrast the two decisions – even though we have to accept there were a host of other variables in play.

But some of those variables should’ve been in Trinidad’s favour – like they’re an island and as such, their borders could’ve been more tightly controlled. Ours, on the other hand – especially from our south (Brazil) and east (Suriname) – are pretty porous. But yet we see that overall – factoring in their greater population – Trinidad has suffered greater damage from the ravages of the disease. They’ve suffered 990 deaths compared to our 509 as of two days ago. On a per capita basis this gives TT a higher rate of fatalities.

Now this isn’t wallowing in schadenfreude…far from it. What it reminds us about this COVID-19 pandemic is there are no easy answers. The only route to stopping it is using vaccines until herd immunity is achieved and even then, keep on observing the basic rules of wearing masks, no touching and sanitising hands. And with the variants coming fast and furious, we’re quite a ways from herd immunity in any country.

Most troubling – especially for us in Guyana – are the large numbers of “vaccine sceptics” – folks who reject being vaccinated for one reason or another. Mostly, this is due to ignorance so the public health authorities will have to keep up with the education programmes on the pandemic. At this stage more affirmation is needed from those now dubbed “influencers” – folks whose opinions others respect. Sadly, in a country where politics dictates every move that people make, the PNC Opposition has been quite equivocal on the vaccination drive.
This is even more callous than them throwing cold water on the “Because We Care” school grants.
COVID kills.

…and passing gas for power

You’d think that by now we’d have settled down on the pros and cons of the gas-to-shore project. Such projects have been implemented across the globe starting exactly half a century ago…it isn’t rocket science any longer. Right next door in Trinidad they’ve been using the undersea natural gas to fuel most of their power-generating systems – and in fact one of their plants is being mothballed right now because they’re running out of gas fields. Let’s invite some Trinis over to deal with the concerns.

But from where your Eyewitness sits, the matter has gone beyond rational discussion after most of the naysayers have adopted ideologically-driven positions. How do you have a discussion with someone who won’t even listen to alternative views with an open mind?
All your Eyewitness knows is that if the project’s being funded upfront by Exxon – and later expensed – this works like an off-the-book loan.
And doesn’t add to our debt profile! What’s to lose?

…to a wet reality

GuySuCo has downgraded their projection on sugar production for the “second crop”. The continued inundation of industry-leader Albion is cited as the reason.
The water-logged fields in the other estates will push that target even further south.