EYEWITNESS: Rallying the nation… against COVID

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Your Eyewitness doesn’t want to suggest that the fight against COVID-19 is easy. Some have said our lockdown policy’s been too flexible. They compare it with Trinidad’s more draconian one that has seen their borders still sealed tight. Even locking out hundreds of their own citizens and raising the ire of local Trinis. At first glance, it would seem that their policy has worked, since, with twice our population, they’ve only had 145 fatalities compared with our 243 – as of yesterday.

But that’s really comparing apples to oranges since Trinidad is an island— allowing them to control their borders much more effectively. We know to our cost that our Brazilian border is very porous – think of all those Haitians disappearing without a trace and multiply that by ten since most of those coming in the opposite direction INTO our country might be relatives or residents of the Rupununi. The Venezuelan border, while less populated, isn’t much more difficult to cross. And finally, our government has been monitoring flights into the country and there haven’t been any reports of infections coming from that quarter.

In the meantime, the vaccination programme has been launched – 40,000 jabbed to date – and is being ramped up this week. One constraint might be the vaccine supply chain. But we’ve got to be honest and admit that the weak link in the fight is “we, the people”. With all the information spewing out in every conceivable medium, no Guyanese can say they’re unaware of the protocols to follow to prevent infection. Too many of us have refused to wear masks and observe social distancing in public.

And in this your Eyewitness believes that we really don’t have just a health problem…but a related social and economic one. Did you see the crowds that gathered for Holi? And if you did, you sure didn’t see the masks the merry-makers were supposed to be wearing, as they doused each other with abeer and coloured powder. Your Eyewitness is waiting for the reports on the Easter kite flying but from the announced sales of kites, the crowds were probably out in force. We just gotta change our culturally inculcated behaviours – at least until this pandemic passes.

Look at the difference in the death rates between those countries with disciplined populations – China and the Far East, for example and the more “liberal” West that includes Guyana. In our refusal to accept that individuals don’t necessarily act for the good of his/her group, we ignore the need for stricter enforcement of the rules.
The Government has started cracking down on bars and restaurants. They’ve now got to toughen up like they just did against kite flying!

…against gas

It’s been mind boggling to witness the naysayers of the gas-to-shore project jumping on their soapboxes to denounce VP Jagdeo. Not the Government, mind you, but Jagdeo. He’s always been in the cross hairs of that lot. Remember them dumping on him after he persuaded Norway to fork over US$250M just for us maintaining our rate of deforestation? How dare we save our forests!? AMAILA Falls hydro also teed them off!

Now, they’re concerned about the same global warming they were fighting against then – and want to keep our oil and gas under the sea! That train having left the station, they’re now trying to block the gas being brought ashore to the projected Industrial Complex at Wales. All sorts of arguments about the costs of the gas pipeline and so on.

They insist on just looking at power generation – ignoring production of urea, methanol, etc. Who are these people? The new Luddites to keep us barefoot (and pregnant)?

It’s a gas!

…against the tyranny of distance

Did you ever stop to think that the major cause of why our Indigenous sisters and brothers have remained the poorest of the poor has been because of their remoteness?

The Govt’s new infrastructural drive will eliminate both.