“Brandy & Punanny” is not the Villain nor ‘Patient Zero,’ we have met the Enemy – it is Us!
“Imagination never lets us take the blame,” Go West – We Close Our Eyes
O V E R V I E W
The above quote never ceases to fascinate me, not only for having been so guilty myself, but how it is endlessly appropriate – especially now. Seeing how Barbados has just forcibly rejoined with a host of other nations in reverting to early 2020 conditions of a 9 pm to 5 am curfew, what some see as Week 53 of 2020 – blame has been apportioned to a Boxing Day bus crawl and as usual many Bajans, including key personnel, are ignoring the real elephant of the scenario.
In this article, not only are current restrictions to be highlighted, we’ll take a look at what led to the Perfect Storm and what should be done to avoid any further repeats along the way…
RENEWED CURFEW AT A GLANCE
The Ministry of Health and Wellness alerted Bajans six polyclinics will be opened as of, Sunday 3rd January, until Tuesday 5th January, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., for COVID-19 testing only.
Dale Marshall, the Attorney General revealed some outfits will be affected by the reversion and requests are being made for entities or individuals who are affected by this curfew to apply for exemptions.
“We are allowing certain entities to continue to operate. All manufacturers, gas stations, hotels, villas and other rental accommodation. There are other establishments in Barbados that need to work around the clock that don’t fit within these three headings and they are therefore encouraged to apply to www.gov.bb and request an exemption.”
Further to a meeting of the Barbados Christian Council, Barbados Evangelical Association and Imam(s) from the Muslim Community with the PM and other Cabinet Colleagues at which there was an Agreement effective from the 3rd until January 14th, there will be NO IN-PERSON worship BUT THAT ALL Services will be streamed. During this period, there will be a return to limited attendance for Weddings and Funerals as well…
“…places of religious worship shall only open for the conduct of funeral services which shall be attended by more than ten mourners, one officiant, the funeral director and any other necessary staff. Secondly, weddings are also going to be affected. We go back to those earlier arrangements. During this two week period only be attended by the bride and groom, two witnesses and the marriage officer.”
For a full list what can and cannot happen or be allowed, click HERE for the complete details. How did we get so, from Barbados as one of the lowest rates and fatalities with almost 200 cases overnight and worse yet, they’re Asymptomatic – meaning they appear normal yet are actually carriers of the dreaded ailment?
CLOSURES AND LENIENCY WITH QUARANTINE EVADERS
How many supermarkets and restaurants closing does it take for Barbadians to realise the system which we were so proud of is not necessarily broken so much as ignored for Overconfidence, as we HAD a low rate if not the lowest in the region? When did we drop the ball? We, as in, the entire country…
Officers pursued ex-beauty queen Zara, 25, and her BF as they were intercepted in a Taxi on their way to board a plane home to avoid being admitted to a quarantine facility.
The reality TV model claims she got death threats on her Instagram account yet over in St Kitts a Quarantine Evader from the USA faced a $4,800 fine and in the Cayman Islands, another American faced a jail term for a similar breach, why does Barbados not simply deport healthy guests who try to avoid protocols?
This query was in fact, posed to the Attorney General of Barbados, Dale Marshall, at the briefing yesterday and his reply was that Judges and Magistrates are not told how to impose sentences. Yet Mr Marshall recommended changing Barbados’ laws to increase the number of Judges and Magistrates to handle a case backlog? Is this not the same Mr Marshall who amended Barbados’ current laws to allow for Curfew Restrictions?
Instead, the whole country is sent to bed without supper for the deeds of a few bratty tourists and certain Government officials who decide to look the other way hoping visitors spend a lot before coughing and sneezing again? Cut a longer switch, it is not only the public who was naughty for the bus crawl, quarantine evaders being ignored was happening from since December last year and this led to a Perfect Storm where everybody was equally affected!
This was why I asked for Patient Zero and how did they get infected? There are claims some members of the prison service or Police Force have been known to engage in security for other companies and services from time to time; this apparently led to a regretful confrontation which had disastrous repercussions? I was not there. so I can only ask, based on what was implied…
Even the Pope is annoyed at people who invade other countries simply to avoid masks and other protocols, if you look at today’s Sunday Sun there are photos of visitors shunning masks and the Nation says nothing one way or the other?
- Tourists, those guilty, in not accepting quarantine when arriving was WRONG
- Government, at whatever level, whether for hoping visitors to spend or to behave correctly on arrival then ignoring discrepancies for profit was WRONG
- Locals learning we had a low rate due to hygiene, masks and sanitiser then starting to act as if Barbadians are the Chosen Ones was WRONG
HOW MANY BAJANS WERE ON THAT BUS CRAWL ANYHOW?
So many places have closed in safety as a member of staff went on this infamous Bus Crawl I’m trying to recall of I went and then forgot? Why was the event singled out for such stringent reprimand? The same Attorney General stunned viewers last night when he openly called the name of that vehicular excursion, this led to hundreds of memes developed including Dale Marshall chanting to old dub music, but I digress – a bus crawl does not a Super Spreader alone make, their had to be an initial affected and how did they become this way and why was it not found earlier?
Enforcement of systems would have meant, if prior theories were correct, villa guards would not be at risk if tourists stayed within quarantine parameters. These guards, under stress from two jobs, would not necessarily be looking to escape or blow off steam since gatekeepers were making sure no one is ignoring danger signals for the almighty dollar. But Liza, please look at my bucket? Its name is Catch 22
So Emmerald City, Solo Trading and Popular Discounts at Spooner’s Hill became casualties along with a number of popular West and South coast eateries including Chefette Six Roads, the Tiki Bar and Café Sol as each of them had a staff member or a customer who attended this bus crawl?
It was easier to point fingers at a bunch of incautious revellers and behave in a peremptory and reprimanding fashion, rather than simply say? Ouch – I got overconfident and the ball dropped, so sorry! When people calm down and think carefully, will they be as forgiving as when those “punishments” were swift and numerous?
As the late, great author Stan Lee said? With Great Power comes Great Responsibility. This is true at any level of society – whether they be a party-goer, parliamentarian, superhero or civilian, be it fictional or in reality. How does Barbados prevent this kind of a mistake again?
GPS TRACKING, NO EXCEPTIONS
There needs to be rapid deployment of tracking bracelets since visitors have an estranged relationship with honesty. If these are deployed, then it lessens strain on all guards be it their primary or secondary duty. GPS tracking lessens the need for serial numbers and scaring locals like when a red quarantine bracelet was found discarded by Accra Beach in Worthing, Ch Ch?
We have to completely adhere to the proper use of masks and sanitisers, but a better method has to be used than those IR scanners right now, which can be easily influenced by how long a body spent (or not) in the sun. A person who was outside for 15 minutes or longer may appear as though they have a roasting fever, conversely, time in a refrigerated unit may imply you’re a cadaver?
By sanitiser, we do not mean Surgical Alcohol like used at Roxy Supermarket in Eagle Hall nor bleach as has happened in other places, we mean proper sanitiser. The Ministry of Health & Wellness needs to speak on if Bajans can use their own sanitiser so we don’t have issues like the guards at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Two Mile Hill who insist on squirting your hands. Please note the recipe on how to make your own sanitiser.
Reporters need to know addressing Government Ministers is NOT “Hey Guys” and use the titles these MP’s and other officials duly earned. Please also bear in mind to use questions that you feel Bajans want to ask but are scared to do, remember George Orwell said if you had an interview and both sides were comfortable that’s PR and not a story.
At the same time, I’d respectfully request Cabinet Ministers to treat the press with courtesy, I know your days are long right now, and sleep is a stranger during this challenging period, but this does not give vent to sneering at reporters or treating them as if they’re barely worth your attention – remember? In 2023 you’re going to be smiling at them and offering these same then not so young reporters your latest cell number to ensure you stay right where you are for the next five years?
E P I L O G U E
It was also a bit of a mistake not to let 2020 end without some kind of closure – I understand Government was trying to control a rapidly descending situation but still, many – self included, we just dozed until shortly after midnight. Crazy as it may seem, it still feels the same year in a warped Groundhog Day and those dark memes suggesting that kind of scenario all along now seem justified, which brings me to my conclusion?
The other effort we all can undertake is stop running with the negative humor, enough self fulfilling nightmares if we’re going to break the cycle it has to start somewhere, let it be us!