If you continue to do things the same way all the time, you should not expect different results. The COVID-19 measures which will take effect today until the end of September represent a reverting to measures previously announced. If these measures are implemented in the same manner as before, they will yield the same results.
The major failing of the COVID-19 regulations from April to July was the lack of implementation. Measures were announced but these relied almost exclusively on voluntary compliance. Among those measures which were poorly enforced was the monitoring of the curfew hours, the wearing of masks in public and when entering businesses, restrictions on the use of the Georgetown Seawall, the opening of non-essential businesses and the restrictions placed on entertainment places.
During the period when the opening of places of entertainment was supposed to be prohibited, there was a shooting incident at an exotic club in the city. One man died in the incident. Yet, to this date, the owners of that club have not been brought to the Court. But some patrons who were drinking recently at a rum-shop at Crane were hauled before the Courts.
There should not be double standards when it comes to implementing these regulations. Surely, the risk of infection was higher in that strip-club than at the well-ventilated rum-shop. Both should not have been opened. But only the owners of the rum-shops were sanctioned.
It makes no sense instituting regulations without the ability to enforce these regulations. The police are stretched at evenings and therefore the police could not have been expected to enforce regulations.
The new government should have moved by now to a system of community enforcement, backed up the police. Persons within the community should be asked to monitor what is taking place and if they discover that regulations are being breached, the police should be summoned. If this is done for all the restrictions, which were published in the Official Gazette yesterday, then these measures are going to have a greater impact.
The government therefore cannot be content simply with the reintroduction of certain restrictions. It has to ensure that these measures are implemented and enforced. Otherwise, the results will be no different.
There is, however, a need to tweak some of the measures announced. For one, a person working in the city and living in Parika, for example, may find it difficult to leave work at 4:30pm and reach home by 6:00pm. The East Bank traffic and the traffic on the West Coast of Demerara crawl to almost a halt during this period.
Similarly, persons who go to the public parks for exercise will find it difficult to get home back after one hour of exercise and still stay within the curfew hour of 6:00pm. Persons living on the East Coast and on West Demerara usually have to wait hours to get public transportation in the afternoons.
Construction workers working deep within villages or far away from the main roads and who have to connect from one bus to another to get home will find this 6:00pm deadline impossible. GUYSUCO workers have had similar problems in the past since there is some confusion as to whether they are essential workers or not. Surely, it will not hurt the government to tweak the curfew hours from 7:00pm to 5:00am.
The wearing of masks in public also requires some qualification. If you are the sole person in your vehicle and you have the window up, should you have to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth? If you have to interact with someone or you have to step outside of the vehicle or if there are other persons in the vehicle, it is understandable that you should have to wear a mask. But not if you are the only occupant of the vehicle and your windows are up.
There have to be tighter controls over markets, pavement vending and businesses. Too many vendors, too many salespersons and too many patrons are not wearing masks. There needs to be a special enforcement team to ensure that this is happening.
Without proper enforcement, the social restrictions announced will produce the same results as they have been doing for the past six month. It is time to change that through stronger enforcement.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Sep 19, 2020Letter to the Sports Editor Dear Sports Editor, The Anamayah Memorial Hospital extends deepest condolences to the relatives of the late Wilbert Benjamin. It has been brought to the attention of the...
Sep 19, 2020
Sep 19, 2020
Sep 18, 2020
Sep 18, 2020
Sep 17, 2020
I am not a religious person in any sense of the word but I am praying that Guyana’s journalism departs from its lackluster,... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Once again, Guyana is causing regional and international worry following two sets of killings of young... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]