“Yippee ki yay, get along little do-gees”, all you gangsters saddle up your horses and ride out of Dodge City. There’s a new Sherriff in town. He’s not Wyatt, but he is a Tuff one. This is not the Wild West, it is the Wild South West, Jamaica style.
Congratulations to Minister Dr. Chris Tufton for decisive action in detaining three foreign nationals who seemed to have landed at the wrong bit of coastline at the wrong time. When they told him that they were there to pick up the ganja I can imagine his surprise when he discovered that they were not referring to medicinal varieties, or to Canasol (an effective medication for the treatment of glaucoma), and that was the reason for no export documentation.
So the Minister covered for the Police, Customs, DEA, and Revenue, in one fell swoop. It was later reported that the police took 40 minutes to arrive on the scene. That being the case, had the men eluded the immediate detention then they would long have been out in international waters never to be detected again and with no obvious evidence onboard.
Please note that I alerted readers over a month ago to the increase in drug and gun movement that would be an outcome of difficult economic times and gave a history. This alert was prior to the attempted landing of the plane on the beach in Clarendon.
Quite apart from the humour and irony of the situation described, Dr. Tufton has been on the job and saying the right things and sending responsible messages, but many of his own colleagues have portfolios and areas that conflict with his appeal for responsibility regarding the most recent concerning wave of COVID-19 spread. So we have the calls from tourism, and sports for a resumption of major activities locally, even as we seem to be in a further spread of COVID-19 plus potentially new variants.
I am still the recipient of several calls from people who have severe COVID-19 and other unrelated chronic conditions who cannot get a bed in a hospital much less an environment able to effectively treat incidents requiring isolation or ICU. If your relative gets COVID at a sporting event or in a hotel, or at an unauthorized party and dies, whose fault is it, Dr. Tufton’s? No way!
The irresponsible behaviour of the now former JetBlue employee and her mother with false accusations about kidnapping and surveillance needs to be vigorously pursued by ministers Bartlett and Chang, and appropriate charges laid. The number of times the mother left the property in a rented car is another nail in their coffin and shows little responsibility and care for others. These are two “tourists” we can afford to do without. If the daughter’s illness had been the Ebola virus our attitudes would be quite different and even violent. They are a clear danger to Jamaica’s reputation.
Quite frankly, the Government responses and directives are not timely, and sectoral popularity seems to supersede good decision-making. We hold out hope to all people whose activities can negatively impact the spread of COVID knowing full well that crowded gatherings of many unmasked people must lead to a further wave of infections.
We say things like “we will review it at the end of February” knowing full well that the medical evidence shows an alarming increase, and as yet we have no large quantities of vaccines at hand. If only we could ensure no violence, what we need is a massive march of the compliant “mask and sanitize” people against the unruly. It is NOT the Government that is keeping tourism and other travel-related industries closed, it is those who have no respect for their fellow Jamaicans.
It is our lack of compliance with voluntary measures that are so obvious on every video, on every public transportation vehicle, with vendors, and other irresponsible business premises. The hotel workers; trade unions; sector organizations; market vendors and others should march or show strong displeasure towards those indisciplined people who are the ones really affecting their livelihoods. It is NOT the Government who are refusing to wear masks!
The dangers have been highlighted in nursing homes which have failed to take adequate essential measures; in prisons; and most recently in schools. The 21 cases of COVID-19 have caused the closure of Munro, and if we were truthful, this is not the fault of Minister Tufton and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). I have no intention of standing silent while allowing the MOHW to become a scapegoat to the lack of decisiveness of others who themselves are sufficiently educated to understand the dire situation.
This lies squarely at the feet of the Ministry of Education and a lack of pushback on the part of a school administration that should really have had the cojones to say no. Too many businesses and institutions are using the excuse of waiting for Government edicts, and in so doing they hope to avoid the pains of decision-making.
Managing a disaster is not planning after the event, but before. It is a no thanks occupation, for if you are right nobody remembers you, and if you are wrong everyone blasts you. William Shakespeare said it well: “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”
Parties continue in the face of threatening hurricanes that “not going to hit because Jamaica is blessed”, but in the aftermath they have not filled extra water bottles, or checked their roof security, or generators. Irresponsible activities accompany national elections, and unmitigated crimes accompany curfews. This is our Jamaican idiosyncrasy. So it is not only COVID but every aspect of life.
So for those who want law and order to prevail please support the activities that can reduce the spread. The lives you save may be your own, and those of your family.