The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis facing the country. Recently, the numbers have increased rapidly. This is cause for urgent and serious concern. Let us all agree on that. Clearly, this deteriorating situation calls on us all to redouble our efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The solution involves all of us.
As of 28th September, nineteen (19) persons have died, and others are seriously ill with COVID-19. We know what to do. So let us all do it: Wear a mask in public; wash your hands regularly; social distance wherever possible inform yourself about the pros and cons of vaccination and decide for yourself on it. No one can force you to take it; but you must properly inform yourself and choose for yourself whether to take it.
Based on the science and the evidence around the world, that vaccination is the safest and fastest way to defeat the virus and get out of this pandemic. It is up to you to decide for yourself. The reports make it clear that it is becoming even more difficult to combat COVID- 19 because of the several variants that have emerged and have been found here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
We can’t get tired of combatting COVID because the virus does not get tired of attacking us, individually and as a community. Let us treat it as a deadly serious matter and do our part to mitigate the spread and ultimately end it. Disregarding or minimizing the threat of COVID- 19 does no one any good; it will make the situation worse.
Since the first case of COVID- 19 was recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2020, Dr. Friday has been calling for a bipartisan approach to manage the COVID-19 crisis. In March of 2020, Dr. Friday made this appeal, “As Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party, I have a responsibility to put the national interests before partisan political interests and to work for the common good. In times of crisis in our country, this principle rises to paramount importance. I have repeatedly called on our government, civil society organizations and individuals to acknowledge our present condition and work together for the good of all.
I renew that call here today. We in the Opposition offer our assistance and commitment to do whatever we can to assist the government and nation to confront and overcome this most serious threat. Prime Minister, I urge that you accept this genuine offer of cooperation in the spirit intended and that we put aside political partisanship as we deal with this existential crisis.”
Dr. Friday reiterated similar sentiments recently on the New Times programme. He said, “Let us put aside the partisanship, let us put aside the pettiness, let us not try to gain political advantage out of it. And trying to portray the NDP as we are a part of the problem, when we have always been in the lead in providing solutions.
It is the government that has not been taking advice because they have tried to approach this in a similar way as they have approached governance issues in the past where they think they can always do it by themselves. This unilateral approach that we are going to do it, we have the power and we are going to do it, but this is one you simply cannot, it is not possible.
It is a problem of a magnitude that they cannot deal with by themselves and they should have recognized that from the beginning and accepted our offer and many others in society who said let us work together. Set up a broad-based taskforce and let us try and bring all the opinions together and settle them there before they become public. Then start dealing with the real problems rather than now having to go and convince people about certain positions that they have become part of the public discourse and information, disinformation, misinformation and people having to decide.
Of course, the tendency let me just stay where I am because I don’t know what to choose; I don’t know what to do. People ask me this question all the time because there seems so much contrary information back and forth. I urge that there be a programme put in place to seriously help our people to become better informed, rather than simply dealing with hype and political advantage. This will help us in terms of our economic recovery, but most of all, it protects us from further deaths seventeen (17) people dying from COVID-19 is a lot of people.” Since then two more persons have died.
However, it would appear that the Unity Labour government is continuous playing politics with such a serious matter. We are in a crisis! To have a top official, as reported by Asberth News Network (ANN), on 24th September, 2001, referring to a recent rally to be a super spreader of the COVID- 19. And in the same news article, which Headlined, “No ‘Super Spreader Event’ Identified – Health Officials Say”. ANN quoted from an official of the Ministry of Health. He stated, “I don’t think we can say we have. We probably could point to some socio-economic conditions and some living conditions that have supported or allowed a greater spread of the disease but I don’t think we can point to one or two events to say that these events are super spreader.”
It was also revealed in that virtual press conference which was hosted by the Ministry of Health that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases began on September 8. And the rally which was referred to was held on September 9. All in an effort to blame the NDP. The NDP is responsible and has always been offering solutions as to how to manage this crisis.