Upholding Civic Duty in Fight Against Covid-19

By Reginald Andrew

While the Soufriere town has come in for some major infrastructural development over the past year, or so, lately, the unruly behaviour of some residents is of growing concern to the authorities.

The westerly ‘touristic’ community currently boasts of new projects, which includes; a picturesque eco-friendly bayfront, an upgraded bus stand, sports mini-stadium and other refurbishments here and there.

Nonetheless, the reckless gay abandonment displayed by some persons say much about those residents commitment to their civic responsibility, in contrast to the level of ‘ crass insurrection’ that appears to have filtered into the society.

For at least the second time since last April when the initial COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ and curfew period was instated, residents from Soufriere have been caught off-guard, violating the protocols which is a most worrisome factor.

The first incident occurred, last July, when a group of residents defying regulations chose to engage in a mini street jump-up albeit, intent on partaking in some form of carnival revelry to ‘pass the time away’.

Then, last weekend’s ‘carnival like’ uproar at Baron’s Drive, resulted in a confrontation with law enforcement officers as they attempted to stop the activity.

People pelted officers with bottles and other missiles when the cops showed up at the ‘carnival like’ after-curfew event.

Officers disclosed that the bar was open at 8.00 pm, one hour after the 7.00 pm curfew time.

Since then, the police have arrested and charged the bar owner along with ten other residents. The cops also confiscated the alcohol at the bar, noting that the proprietor did not have a liquor licence.

The police continue to round up more culprits as they move on with their investigations

Public Relations Officer of the Police Welfare Association (PWA), Stanislas Albert reported that the officers had to run for their lives and take cover.  However, no one was hurt during the melee.

Meanwhile, the PWA has expressed concern about the lack of response or empathy from civil society over last weekend’s disturbances in Soufriere.

“Up to now there has been no outcry from the public,” laments Albert.

He argued that had it been the other way around with civilians having to flee from the police “you would have heard everybody crying out against the police.”

Albert noted that it is a sad situation when police officers in pursuant of their duties and obligations are subjected to reckless endangerment and have to ‘run for their lives’.

He declared that it’s a situation that the police will not tolerate.

The PWA’s public relations officer further contends that had the police been at fault, they would have been hauled before the courts.

“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” Albert asserted.

This latest incident, while fraught with all manner of civil disobedience can be seen as a threat to the lives and livelihoods of other persons in the community.

This incident of ‘civil disobedience’ against the authorities’ leads only to more recklessness and further strain on the hard-working health workers.

These ‘frontline’ workers toil day and night to help citizens combat the COVID-19 virus.  And whatever little steps taken to help reduce the spread cannot be allowed to be brought into disrepute because of the unruly conduct from a group of persons.

The ‘contact tracing’ process is a tedious and costly matter, and should this latest situation spill over with the likelihood of transmission and community spread it would place an added burden on health workers.

Law enforcement officers took the lead in attempting to deal with the matter speedily by apprehending and prosecuting the alleged offenders, but the consequences may yet prove dire, depending on closer examination from the authorities.

Saint Lucia, like other countries globally is faced with an unprecedented crisis of magnanimous proportions, intent on wreaking havoc on the social, health and economic welfare of the people.

No one is spared the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus ravages through with no regard for colour, class or social standing in society.

As the authorities continue to roll out its island-wide vaccination campaign in an effort to help minimize risks of transmission, it will serve citizens well to adhere to the protocols and to look after the interests of each other within the communities.

It will require a cohesive and collaborative approach from all and sundry in society to beat down the virus: Adhere to the Protocols and Stay Safe!

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