Get your act together

Debbie Jacob -
Debbie Jacob -

THIS IS the time for us to decide who we really are as a country and who we are as individuals. We will forever look back on this pandemic as a defining moment which either establishes us as a compassionate and resilient people who consider the vulnerable in our society or we will forever be viewed as careless, carefree people who could not take science seriously.

We had been warned about this pending doom for over a year and many people in society valued a party or a lime by a bar more than safety. We took the goodwill and all the hard work that we did in the beginning of this pandemic and squandered it to the point that we are overwhelming the parallel healthcare system.

Every covid19 death is a tragedy, and I am not one to use that word lightly. Catching covid19 is a terrifying possibility, but even with that aside, our inability to control it is wreaking havoc on our society from education to the economy.

We will forever look back on this time and remember how we could not be with loved ones on their death beds because of covid19. My mother died alone in a nursing home in the US, and I could not see her through that transition in her life without sacrificing my life in this country.

In the beginning, it seemed we would be an exemplary country in the fight against covid19. We looked like a country in control with a brilliant plan to stave off the worst of the pandemic with the parallel healthcare system. We took that early success for granted.

Selfishly, many people scoffed at good sense and science in the face of the experts. We were ever so close to leaping to another stage of management of this pandemic as vaccines arrived in the country.

I would have liked to see the Government implement stringent measures that limited air travel to Tobago over Easter. I wish it had prevented religious services until people were sufficiently vaccinated, but then in many ways the Government is right. How many political limitations can you impose on people who are supposed to care and know better in these dire times? Too many people failed at self-discipline.

All we have been asked to do is wear masks, social distance, wash our hands and refrain from congregating. Those simple measures proved to be too difficult for too many people.

I can’t tell you how many people I know who have scoffed at vaccinations and refused to wear masks or social distance. I have pleaded with young people who come to my house to adhere to covid19 regulations. On any given day, I feel like I am begging for my life and the lives of the vulnerable in this society, and those pleas fall on many deaf ears.

Just a few days ago, one young person told me, “This will be over in a minute.”

No it won’t. This pandemic is in its second year, and we are suffering more than ever.

I am disappointed and disgusted at how many people try to make covid19 responses a political issue. I am saddened at the lack of empathy in this country. I am shocked at how uneducated people sound when they talk against vaccinations. We certainly have proved that we are not a people who read enough.

It is too bad that the Government came out initially with strong measures that included fines for not complying with covid19 regulations, but then fell short of implementing ways to collect those fines. Perhaps the system crumbled at that point.

Now, our best course of action is to stay home. Some people say this makes them depressed, but happiness begins with the ability to be with ourselves and to consider the well-being of others. Following covid19 protocol is a chance for every person in this country to participate in community service just by remaining at home to give the healthcare system a fighting chance.

I am sorry for all the people who have lost their livelihood at this time, including restaurant workers and street vendors, simply because people could not follow simple rules. It didn’t have to be that way. If we all had played our part, we could have controlled this situation.

When it comes to standing in line, physical distancing and thinking about the well-being of others, too many Trinidadians failed the test. Get your act together. It’s time to take responsibility for the well-being of this nation.


"Get your act together"

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