By Vincent Shon
There is a misconception that people in other countries are starving due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is completely untrue. In fact, a negative impact of the coronavirus is weight gain due to binge eating. Please feed the people within the country who haven’t been able to afford meals long before this pandemic and are made worst by it. Instead of saying, “sun brightens stone”, a better colloquial saying is, “Sweep your own front yard before sweeping your neighbour’s.”
Having a barely recognisable export sector and a miniscule tourism sector makes St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) a largely import trade economy, which means that it will likely have a far less economic contraction generally (since there isn’t much to contract to begin with as a smaller economy) than many of the other neighbouring countries for which these sectors account for a much more significant portion of their GDP during this coronavirus pandemic.
The initial request for proper border control with protocols for the quarantine of returning citizens (repatriation) was not a cry for a complete lock-down of the economy of SVG as suggested by the government.
Effective border controls would have led to the absolute prevention of the coronavirus from entering and or spreading within the country, which can only enter through travel either by tourist or returning citizens.
Such an early response would have insulated and protected the country and it citizens thoroughly, with the only impact on the economy being limited only to the tourism sector.
Instead, the failure to secure the country’s borders allowed for the entry and spread of the coronavirus, causing mass hysteria, unemployment across many sectors beyond tourism, including agriculture, fishery, private sectors or independent businesses, even public sector, and has thrown the country into utter chaos.
The relatively small number of cases is not as a result of great management, but more or less a result of other countries’ border control, travels being grounded and tourism coming to a halt globally for the safety and security of other countries and their respective citizens. The natural recovery of coronavirus positive cases, was touted as having great management, fast response, a great healthcare system and a strong economy, all of which are false.
Being that there has been no cure for the coronavirus as yet, natural recovery is the ONLY cure. Low cases of COVID-19 and natural recoveries by no means equates to the insinuation of having a great healthcare system. For instance, let’s say someone needs a brain or open-heart surgery, people with serious medical conditions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines still need to travel or be flown out to other countries for treatment.
These circumstances mentioned above, NONE are the recipe for success or the model for which other Caribbean islands or any country should follow. The same is true for saying, “I have the best and fastest car, but it’s the only car I’ve ever driven and it was also made in 2001.” You can’t possibly know if you’re driving the best or fastest car if you’ve never driven any other cars or if it’s outdated. Even if you were to be the best by default, is not a technically sound accomplishment or successful model.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].