The Hard Headedness of Saint Lucians

THE rapid rise in active COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia after the July 26 general elections is staggering. That the country could move from 107 active cases recorded on July 22, 2021 to 1128 active cases recorded Thursday of this week is unnerving and should be wholly frightening.

This upsetting state of affairs, reached within a period of four weeks, should tell us in no uncertain terms that we are staring at a health crisis, which has to be dealt with in the strongest possible way by our newly elected Government, mustering all the power it can garner from the Constitution and all other legal means at its disposal to persuade, coerce and, if necessary, force our population into patterns of behavior that will redound to all of our own benefit.

The method of persuasion being adopted by the government by means of education, encouragement of the citizens to accept the theory that the vaccines, proffered as the best weapon available in the country to fight the virus, will cause no damage to the human body, is all well and good. However, such a technique has not worked, and is or as can be seen, is not working as Saint Lucians continue to congregate on beaches, at homes, in bars almost everywhere in direct defiance of the protocols established to protect us from the virus. The mere fact that the highly contagious Delta variant has been found in three individuals seems not to deter Saint Lucians at all from congregating.

What is happening on the ground in Saint Lucia will only lead to increased cases of the virus. Saint Lucia is in its 17th month of fighting the virus yet look at the state it is in, which is a clear indication that somehow the techniques, strategies and methods used over the above stated period of time have not worked fast enough to avoid the situation we now are in.

Simply praying and hoping that the number of active cases will take a dip and continue in that trend is not helping nor will it help in the future. Neither will castigation of the previous administration over its handling of the pandemic so far help, even though we believe they deserve a share of the blame for the debacle facing the country today.

We have already seen the costly nature of the virus in terms of the infrastructural cost to government by way of outfitting an entire hospital just for patients suffering with the virus, the number of lives it has taken, the stress on front line workers and families mourning the loss of loved ones due to the virus and more.

Taking into consideration what we have seen since this administration took over the reins of power, it is difficult to see Saint Lucia turning the corner with the present way in which the fight against the virus is being handled. This is our view and is not a criticism of the government, given that they have hardly settled at their ministerial desks.

COVID-19 is a ruthless enemy with a single objective – to attack and conquer everyone it can in this country. The Pierre administration therefore should also have a single objective, which is to destroy COVID-19 as quickly as possible. The administration by now should know that it cannot rely only on the population at large to “do the right thing” in carrying out this single objective. The evidence is there. Pleading and encouraging the uncooperative side of the population to vaccinate will fail in the objective of achieving ‘herd immunity’.

Should the heavy stick be wielded in getting Saint Lucians to heed to the call to vaccinate? Or should some form of incentive be used to get them to heed the call?

We heard the authorities are keeping a close eye on the number of active cases being recorded with the hope that should it dip now or next week they would know whether to continue the fight in its present form or, alternatively, step up the fight by instituting more stringent measures like closing the beaches, bars, churches, gyms, etc.

We are saying that the number of active cases is high enough, too high, in fact, for immediate draconian measures to be instituted. This is clearly a case where Peter has to pay for Paul due entirely to the hard headed, selfishness of too many Saint Lucians.

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