May 03, 2021 Letters
I have no confidence in this Government, which does not have the welfare of the people of Guyana as its paramount consideration. We need good leadership at this time of the pandemic, which is haunting our nation. Such leadership is tremendously lacking in the present administration.
Guyana is fast approaching a reported death rate of 300 persons from the COVID-19 virus. The current death toll as reported is 298. There are over 13,000 reported positive cases of this deadly virus to date in Guyana.
Shame on this Government for its refusal to adopt stringent measures as are being currently instituted in our sister nations of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad announced the measures below to take effect from yesterday until the end of May in a commendable effort to curtail the spread of the deadly virus and to protect its people:
· Closure of restaurants and bars
· Closure of malls
· Closure of places of worship
· Closure of spas and beauty services
· Closure of casinos and betting houses
· Closure of cinemas, theatres and clubs.
These are all places that our inept Government has and continues to reopen. In its recent guidelines for the month, the Government has allowed the reopening of gyms and fitness centres, places of worship, restaurants and bars and casinos with the qualification at a limited capacity. There is no monitoring of these places to ensure it is at a limited capacity and, having regard to the recent closures and arrests for non-compliance, persons will not be obeying any of the rules as to capacity. We need to follow the good precedent set in Trinidad and Barbados.
The Head of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has urged the Caricom nations to stiffen a range of measures having regard to the rise in the number of cases. She has listed extending curfews, imposing stay at home orders and limiting reopening and commended nations that have instituted a lockdown for putting health first since such measures do work.
Suriname has in fact stopped all overseas travel by air and water. It has ceased the ferry service from Guyana in an effort to protect its people. Here in Guyana, the airports remain open and there are several daily flights. Our airports should be closed at this time.
The Government of Guyana remains steadfast and unwavering in its callous indifference towards the lives of the Guyanese people and persists in its reckless conduct. The President of Guyana, in one of his rare Press conferences, when asked about the lack of measures in place, was unconcerned and merely spoke of increasing foot patrols to continue closing bars and restaurants. Shockingly, he disclosed that there were over 1000 persons at creeks over the past weekend. Yet these creeks and recreational places have not been immediately closed! The President merely stated that to take those 1000 persons to another Police Station would have been a “disaster”. The disaster is actually having these places open and condoning such reckless behaviour at the time of this pandemic. This sort of uncaring conduct and lack of concern for the lives of citizens must be condemned in the strongest possible way.
The government has not instituted even the most minute of measures by adjusting the curfew to an earlier time to protect its people. It has renewed the guidelines by defiantly stating in bold print that the curfew REMAINS at the senseless and impractical hour of 10:30 pm to 4 am. Why then is there even a “curfew”? It boggles the mind as to how such a measure is intended to protect the populace. The proximity of Guyana to Brazil alone is a reason why there should be immediate strong measures instituted.
The Government has secured vaccines for the country but there is a slow vaccination rate and a lot of vaccine reluctance by persons. There has to be increased awareness through the media and other platforms as to the effectiveness and importance of the vaccines. However, the vaccines alone cannot curtail the spread of this virus, which is increasing within the country and causing more deaths. The more contagious variant of this virus must be present in Guyana and there must be stringent measures in place to control the spread.
The Government remains content to continue to appease the members of the private sector and business owners in its pursuit of opening the economy rather than taking the sensible and responsible approach as that being adopted by our Caricom sister nations.
I appeal to the Government to act responsibly and institute strong measures forthwith by following the lockdown approach in Trinidad and Barbados to curtail the spread of this virus. The lives of the Guyanese people are at stake. If this is not done, then our future is dire.
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