For some-time now, I have noticed a similarity in approach to governance by our leader and the President of the United States. The written letters of resignation that were a requirement of service to this country by two senators piqued my interest in how this country was going to be governed.

Our leader is popular, and far outstrips the popularity of the leader of the opposition, and when his popularity is compared to that of the president of our neighbour to the north, one can only surmise that he will be in charge of us for a very long time. However, as could be expected, popular leaders worldwide tend to regard their popularity as a broad brush consensus of “anything goes”.

The president of our northern neighbour says and does things with a singular lack of sophistication, that reveals exactly what he thinks of those who disagree with him, and his actions leave no doubt in your mind as to the fact that if you don’t “bow” and show your teeth (smile) whenever you are in his presence then look out for some form of “punishment” that is sure to follow. Our leader is much more suave and sophisticated. He is articulate and seems affable enough, but he rewards loyalty and acquiescence just like his apparent mentor.

There are some Cabinet members who, have time and time again, revealed how unsuitable they are for positions of power, and yet they remain in their position, free to “mess up” again and again. If the favoured one happens to fall afoul of the law or the basic decency of what is expected of a senior government official, then he WILL be sidelined, but as to any further reprimand or punishment…..fahget it.

The present way in which the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled is a cause for concern. The well-documented and proven way to contain the spread of this respiratory virus is mass testing, identifying the ones who are positive and isolating them. Therefore, testing MUST be islandwide and open, primarily to selected, prioritized citizens. We have not been doing this, as the mantra was “test only those with respiratory symptoms”. So, while the number of positives increase daily, the numbers remain low, garnering praise from the majority of observers.

On the 16th of March this year, a “whistleblower” on social media wrote this: “From the start of this thing, I have been concerned about the call centres. Hundreds of folks packed in, one on another, using the same keyboards after shifts, same headsets, same computer smart chairs. Brogad can’t say social distancing and no more than 20 persons gathered together and have only 1,000 pushing the same turnstiles to enter the building.”

Later on, the whistleblower is quoted as saying: “TVJ did an extensive news story on the situation, everybody ignored the warning signs. BPOs are still open”. Now, in April of this year, after two workers, with symptoms tested positive, we now hear of a further 32 positives and the complete lock down of Portmore for one week! Too little, too late.

When will there be a comprehensive review of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and a real and sustained effort to increase testing islandwide? When will we start to be proactive instead of reactive?

So as thousands leave Portmore to beat the lockdown, some carrying the virus while asymptomatic… Let us pray!

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