ONE month after an election, four weeks after a new Prime Minister was sworn-in, three weeks after a new Cabinet was appointed, two weeks after new COVID measures were announced, one week after the new parliament held its first session and in the middle of a transition that’s also in the middle of a global health crisis of pandemic proportions, is not enough time to hammer any new government over policy actions and directions.
After all, Saint Lucia’s brand-new government hasn’t even unveiled its 100-Day program, or its priorities for its first year in office, or how it intends to implement the manifesto promises the majority of voters voted for.
But the criticism is already coming from the usual expected sources, one month since the July 26 General Elections resulted in a near-complete routing of the former ruling (UWP).
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has been in and out of government (but never out of the Saint Lucia Parliament) longer than any of his fellow Labor Party MPs and has spent a lifetime taking licks for talking straight, overcoming (over decades) every stumbling block and hurdle his critics thought would have forced him to swallow his stammer and stick to silent accounting.
A student of Science and Physics at St. Mary’s College, a graduate in Business at the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and heading his own accounting firm all his adult and working private life, Pierre’s professional life has also always revolved around Numbers; and he’s always appreciated the difference between Science and Stupidity (No thematic pun intended!)
So, when, as Saint Lucia’s new Prime Minister, he insists the government he leads will be ‘guided by the Numbers and the Science’, he’s only being who he always was: a realist who’ll call it like it is — and also say unpopular things that are true and must be admitted.
The UWP last weekend expressed ‘alarm’ about the COVID State of the Nation inherited by the new government, after an election campaign in which the outgoing administration threw all COVID protocols and caution to the wind.
It was also predicted by some that the Chamber of Commerce would sound early alarms about business concerns about a crime wave that escalated to alarming rates long before Election Day.
But it’s still unfair to criticize this new prime minister for having an unapologetic appreciation for and being guided by Numbers and Science, two of the most important ingredients and elements for formulating practical policies.
Here we have a Prime Minister who describes himself as a ‘Servant Leader’ and never ceases to cite the plight of the ordinary citizen, who insists he will not be driven by emotion and partisan political considerations, but by what makes life tick and what is best for preserving lives — and who’s not likely to make Politically Correct statements simply for the sake of sounding good.
But instead of being appreciated for calling a stone a stone and not a rubber ball, this PM is being measured by words he didn’t say, instead of what he says.
Be it all that as it may, though, the new administration should strive, in this pandemic period, to always make and take decisions that are simply correct – no matter the political consequences — based on Facts and Figures, Numbers and Science.
And decision-makers in the health sector should also always strive to distinguish correctly between Science and Stupidity.
But not only those in the health field.
While the contributions of sectors can also be also greater and more effective than the individuals, this is not always the case, as their memberships are divided on vaccination, as seen in the lack of strong sectoral responses to the growing calls for the unvaccinated to vaccinate or be vaccinated.
Unfortunately, among those strongly discouraging vaccination by opposing what they see and sell as efforts by government to force them to take pricks they don’t want are people no one will describe as stupid, but some of whose arguments can be as stupid as can be.
Many here of advanced intellectual capacity, among them veteran teacher and lawyers – do spout unbelievable arguments and repeat unproven claims, not because they actually believe them but because they help offer ‘reasons’ why they (the proponents of Vaccine Refusal) refuse to vaccinate.
In some cases, those advocating against vaccination are not totally opposed into taking a prick, per se, but are just actually not YET ready, because they simply don’t trust Oxford Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer — and like many more than may be imagined, are simply awaiting release of the Cuban vaccine.
In some cases, those promoting vaccine hesitance of refusal would offer nice-sounding arguments — like accusing those proposing, promoting and urging the unvaccinated vulnerable to vaccinate engaging in ‘indoctrination’ instead of ‘education’.
Or that ‘the vaccine does not do what vaccines are supposed to do and make people immune…’
Clearly, these fine people with fine minds cannot be called stupid, but it’s easy to when they defy and deny the scientifically-proven global reality that while the vaccines don’t absolutely and totally immunize at a 100% rate, they can provide up to 85% protection against being affected by COVID; and the infallibility of the numbers that show that 99.9% of the people hospitalized RIGHT HERE or dying from COVID and COVID-related causes are/were unvaccinated.
These are the Facts and Figures that result from the Numbers produced by the Science and one does not have to be rocket scientists to see and understand these are rock-solid realities that stare us straight in the face.
But instead of accepting them and rising to the challenge of fighting a global pandemic that has taken millions of lives and is also taking more at a faster rate right here, some of the bright minds among us prefer to duck their heads in the sand and split hairs over supposed ‘rights’ to choose to keep themselves vulnerable and to encourage others to discourage others from choosing between protecting their lives and risking dying from what is effectively assisted suicide.
Instead of encouraging vulnerable elderly persons with underlying conditions in their own families to do the only thing that can give them a scientifically-guaranteed chance of survival and just take another two injections without fear — like they’ve done all their lives – they’re telling their own relatives there are microchips in the needles and the vaccines can quicker kill than save.
But all these stupid arguments do is contribute to the confusion they cause in the minds of too many who look-up to our teachers and lawyers for guidance, therefore also extending the length of time the Delta Variant and others like the Kent Variant that are also here will remain with us, in all its various forms, for much longer than too many of us would even realize.
The proof is staring us in the eyes: Lives lie between truth and lies, facts and figures; and science (including Voodoo and so-called ‘Black Magic’) always trumps stupidity – every time!