Here’s wishing my readers a New Year of Miracles!
I am moved to return to writing my weekly column after an absence of eight years. The year 2020 was like no other in recent history. As we look back at what transpired, we see a world exposed to many segments of trials and challenges, where business as Usual transformed to business Unusual, amidst the despair of the pandemic disaster of COVID -19.
Saint Lucia continues to cope with the pandemic, with limited deaths. Thanks to the efforts of the medical and security personnel for exercising strict supervision of the protocols. As a result, we are able to control the virus and maintain a reasonable level of economic activity.
Most of us survived on the basis of resilient determination and inspiration which stimulated and sustained our faith and determined spirit throughout the regimen of wearing masks, observing social distancing while washing our hands regularly. We are now living in the era of the coronavirus, where we are left with no other choice, than living under restrictions that became necessary in an effort to control the pandemic where we experience lockdowns, and curfews, resulting in our freedom of movement being curtailed.
We learned to work from home, home school our children, and discipline those who were accustomed to study in class rooms, to study online remotely. Restricted regional and international travel caused major setbacks, especially in the tourism industry, while experiencing the highest level of unemployment, resulting in many citizens’ inability to provide food and shelter, reduction of medical care, by giving priority to COVID 19 patients, among many other changes that we are currently experiencing.
As the New Year dawns, it is relieving and reassuring to note that three vaccines are currently being distributed and dispensed by medical professionals. It is likely that it will take months to effectively vaccinate the majority of the world’s population. However, concurrently, the citizens must apply restraint in their behaviours, and observe the established protocols. While the voices of the medical experts are calling upon citizens to adhere, there is open season as the majority of citizens refuse to be restrained when it comes to holidays, family gatherings, political rallies and protests. The reluctance of the USA to follow in the footsteps of the UK and Canada has begun to show substantial increases in cases with the numbers climbing to as many as 4,000 deaths in a single day. The UK and Canada are currently on Lockdowns which were extended. Should the surge in cases continue in the USA, it might become necessary to implement lockdowns in certain states if not in the entire country.
In spite of our best efforts, no one can predict with any certainty when this pandemic will end. In the meantime, life must continue, and like other past disruptions in our lives, this too shall pass. It is not about laying blame for what is happening as a result of putting the stock market ahead or caring for the lives of the people, but it is necessary to be cognisant of the importance of good leadership in all aspects of our lives, especially political leadership. Leaders must display Empathy and Vision. The Bible says “where there is no vision, the people perish”.
Who would have thought that the great United States of America – the bastion of Democracy would have fallen into such dark days? The hopes of many have now become fears as President Donald J. Trump continues to create confusion even as he prepares to exit the White House. A new leader will emerge and it is clear that President Elect – Joe Biden is doing and saying all the right things, and there seems to be an apparent silver lining.
Having made the foregoing observations, I can only conclude that our world is in dire straits and solutions must be found in the shortest possible time. This is by no means the end of the world. As an optimist, it is my firm belief that our best days are ahead of us.
Remember Almighty God is in charge; dream big and expect daily Miracles!
Freelance Journalist/Realtor/Business Consultant