The Story Within The Story …
By Leonard Gildarie
There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. The standoff…the stalemate…the pain and suffering of the people finally, it seems, will have some respite.
June 16th has been named as the latest day for the declarations.
It is the 90th day today since the defining March 2nd elections…defining because it has glaringly exposed our frailties and our leaders.
I have been harsh and there will be no change…Guyana has taken a back burner in the battle that has ensued for democracy.
The crassness, the racist commentaries, the uncaring attitude and general lack of leadership have all left a bitter taste in the mouths of the people.
Day after day, it was one twist after another. From drama at Ashmins, to court steps, the people were regaled with the latest of narratives. Only this time, it was no laughing matter.
The trauma since December 21st, 2018 has made weary a people who should rightly now be arguing about the oil deal with ExxonMobil.
Instead, as if the medicine was not bad enough, the people were saddled with COVID-19.
Suriname is currently facing delays in the tabulation process of its own elections held last Monday.
Its former military strongman, Desi Bouterse, is set to lose big time with his presidency under significant threat, unless he can persuade the Opposition to select him when Parliament meets in August. That neigbouring country is expected to finalise the results this weekend.
St Kitts and Nevis is in the news also after the incumbent government there rejected the coming of the Organisation of American States to observe their elections scheduled to be held in a few days time.
Guyana, it seems, is not alone in the struggles. Have we started a trend? I have heard snide comments that the developments in Guyana will set a dangerous trend for the region.
Are the events in Suriname and St. Kitts and Nevis enough to make conclusions and could they have taken a cue from Guyana? I hope not.
We will have to be strong. If the elections proceedings continue, God forbids, beyond June 16th, it will not be good for the weary people of Guyana.
We have to install a new government in place, quickly or find ourselves in a constitutional mess.
As we speak, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague us.
Moruca, a Region One sub-region, has ordered a two-week lockdown after nine cases, including one death was reported.
The shops and taxi services will not be allowed to operate during the lockdown in that Region One area.
The country has more than 150 cases, with the Palms worryingly recording a number of positives.
The steadily rise in number will starkly drive home how much of a difficulty Guyana has with its borders and capacity.
We look to Trinidad and Tobago and they are thinking of partial opening of their ports. No one is in institutional lockdown, it has been reported in that Twin Island Republic.
On the other hand, Brazil has recorded a staggering 468,338 cases with 27,944 deaths, the second most affected country in the world.
Over 8,000 persons are said to be in critical conditions with the neighbouring country forced to find new burial spots for mass graves.
We have to be deeply worried. Our borders with Brazil, in Region Nine, are open and difficult to monitor.
The San Martin and other border areas with Venezuela is also a major cause of concern because of a fluid situation of illegal and other activities there.
We look to Vietnam, a country of 97 million people.
CNN reported Friday that Vietnam has not recorded a single Coronavirus-related death. In fact, it had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year.
According to CNN, this is most striking as Vietnam is a low-middle income country with a much less-advanced healthcare system than others in the region.
It has an average of eight doctors for every 10,000 people, a third of the ratio in South Korea, according to the World Bank.
After a three-week nationwide lockdown, Vietnam lifted social distancing rules in late April.
CNN said it hasn’t reported any local infections for more than 40 days.
Businesses and schools have reopened, and life is gradually returning to normal.
Truly remarkable because traffic congestion in that country, is beyond believable.
So how did Vietnam do it?
Vietnam, according to CNN, started its preparation for the outbreak weeks before its first case was detected.
According to the report, this came even as the Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were no immediate linkages for human-to-human transmission. Vietnam was not taking any chances.
By early January, temperature screening was already in place for passengers arriving from Wuhan at Hanoi’s international airport.
In fact, persons with a fever were isolated and closely monitored.
In late January, state agencies started to take measures after two cases were confirmed. Flights to and from Wuhan were the suspended with medical quarantine at border gates, airports and seaports.
As the country celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday, its Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc declared war on the Coronavirus on January 27.
The country established a national steering committee to control the outbreak- the same day the WHO declared the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
On February 1, Vietnam declared a national epidemic.
We started our partial closures in March.
Do we understand why we need the elections to be behind us?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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