Sep 03, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The news is that Guyanese are dying daily from the deadly COVID-19 virus. Not a day passes, it seems, when many new infected cases are recorded. They are usually in the scores, sometimes over a hundred. Yet, we have the impression and come to the conclusion, that those involved have not worked in the wisest manner to get the most out of what is present to deliver what is best for all citizens.
Beginning with the positive, the Health Ministry has been a model of consistency and efficiency with the delivery of vaccines. Despite some hiccups over pricing and supply of urgently required vaccines, those hurdles are currently not the sharp concern that they were before. More vaccines are available, and more and more Guyanese have come forward to be vaccinated. What is deeply worrying, is that so many medical professionals, with nurses being foremost, have opted not to have the vaccine, even after all this time has passed, and all these experiences and knowledge have been gained firsthand by them. The reasonable thought is that they would be the first in line to get vaccinated, if only for selfish purposes. That is, to protect themselves better, and be assured of the same for their loved ones because of the tough choice they had to make, which they did.
The resistance to get vaccinated is now compounded by the Government’s decision to force the issue: vaccination must happen, with proof furnished, or there is no entry to the workplace. Our healthcare system was already under pressure in pre-pandemic days, and for this series of events to occur now, simply makes a testing set of circumstances worse. Our public health system does not have this luxury, cannot afford this, and this is regardless of what any politician or ministry or hospital authority offers to reassure the public. That is clutching at straws, which leaves us thinking that there must be other ways tried. What is happening in the health system reflect the same confrontational story in public education, too.
The unions have signalled court action, as a first step in combating the heavy-handed and unilateral actions of government. Their members are fearful and suspicious and, no matter how some may believe such to be without basis, and label as having ulterior motives, some appreciation must be given to those concerns. Also, though a few thousand parents have agreed to their children being vaccinated, the number of unvaccinated is still high. Thus, the battle lines are drawn, with nurses and teachers on one side of the confrontation. On the other, there are representatives of the related unions and government officers respectively in what shapes up to be a passionate clash, with much bitterness left in the wake of whatever decision the courts make. And caught in the middle, are patients and families, plus students and parents, all wondering if this could end well at all.
The problem in this country is that we are not sitting across the table and having the needed honest conversation with each other. It should be noted, what we said: honest conversations, and not coming with preset notions of what should be, and that nothing else is acceptable. Instead, what we are doing in this society, and getting too good for our good at all levels, is to rage at each other, and shout at each other. This much is obvious, regardless of how skilled we have become at smoothing over the roughness and jaggedness for public consumption, and in studious observation of political correctness.
To repeat: we are dishonest with each other, and this is in what we say, and what we cleverly withhold. It is also noticeable in the hard and inflexible positions that we take in those areas, where dealings with each other cannot be avoided. We delight in using phrases like ‘bad faith’ and ‘unprincipled position’ but somehow it is always the other side and the other people who are guilty of such doubletalk and double-dealing. The shoe is always on the other foot. Our sick and our young are impacted, yet we approach challenges in the wrong way for the wrong objectives leading to the wrong outcomes. Meanwhile, Guyanese pay the price.
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