We urge all to heed the call of President Paula-Mae Weekes. In a statement issued earlier this week, the President urged citizens to remain calm in the face of the health crisis and also underlined the need for empathy, kindness and compassion at this time.
“I appeal to you to remain calm, now is not the time for criticisms and recriminations,” the President said. “Together, we must focus on what needs to be done to get as many of us through this as safely as possible. We’ll resume the river limes, the church services, the bar scene and feting when the crisis is over but as it is likely to get worse before it gets better, we need to hold strain.” The President also focussed on the need for all persons to comply with the guidelines set out by the State.
“For those of us not in the high-risk categories, consider that we are likely to be in physical contact with someone who is – a family member, a colleague, a fellow passenger,” she said. “Please observe the advice as if your life depended on it. Someone’s does.”
We are in a period of great uncertainty, indeed, but that uncertainty will only be compounded by actions of frivolity. Being harden: willfully going against guidelines, persisting in river limes and public gatherings, not only demonstrate recklessness, they show a degree of callousness for the lives of others.
The State has clearly resorted to extreme measures, such as the containment of dozens of persons from a cruise ship at Balandra. The handling of that exercise is a good sign of overall capability. And while it is unfortunate the stranded citizens will have to remain isolated for some time, the rest of the population can take comfort in knowing there are plans in place to deal with situations like this one.
At the same time, the complaints of the residents of Balandra, who have said they were not aware the camp would be put to such use, are understandable. The fear of this disease is a reflection of the gravity of the threat. We have sympathy with the people of Balandra who may face some degree of disruption.
At the same time, we urge them, too, to heed the President’s call for understanding and empathy. With the logical implementation of what should, by now, be routine precautions, there is little risk of contamination. If only the degree of concern reflected in the Balandra population extended to those who willfully sought to defy guidelines by convening river limes and congregating in large groups.
Inversely, many people have been “diagnosing” complete strangers based on how they look. Now is not the time for suspicion and paranoia. Reason responsibility and common sense must prevail.