By *Jomo Sanga Thomas
(“Plain Talk” July 8, 2022)
Carnival 2022 represents a shocking display of governmental irresponsibility. Thousands of citizens wined down Kingstown. Hundreds flocked to private parties, beaches, and bars. All of this occurred while the nation was under a medical emergency.
The 10 days of mas and music dubbed the “hottest carnival in the Caribbean” was our first carnival since 2019. In December 2020, the government declared a medical emergency. In November 2021, PM Gonsalves enforced the COVID mandate provisions, which economically assassinated hundreds of Vincentian teachers, police officers, nurses and sanitation workers.
The Government’s jab-or-no job-policy created a mental health crisis, unlike anything we have witnessed in this country since independence. While the dengue outbreak, COVID epidemic and the volcanic eruption were viewed as natural disasters, not in their wildest dreams did Vincentians believe their government would treat them so. The dismissal of so many workers compounded the horrific economic conditions that continue to rock our society’s foundation.
Where is Simone Keizer-Beache, our chief medical officer, in all of this? In light of this con-game government pulled on the population, can we ever trust the medical establishment again? Are we told the truth that no Vincentians have suffered severe adverse events or died after taking the COVID vaccine?
All these questions loom large now that we have participated in the most significant mass event since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic?
The government cannot have it both ways. It cannot tell the nation that a medical emergency is in force, that COVID vaccine mandates are necessary to protect the population, that citizens must mask up to enter public facilities, that so-called frontline employees who refuse to take the vaccine remain a menace to the vaccinated people and must be dismissed from their jobs and then allow Vincentians, jabbed and unjabbed, to gather, party and make merry. Will PM Gonsalves take to the radio to announce a spike in COVID cases?
During the carnival celebration, there was no announcement asking people to stay at home, exercise caution and be mindful of the social distancing and masking policy. Gonsalves, the Caribbean Ayatollah on COVID mandates, encouraged people to see the carnival as a cathartic moment to exhale; to free up themselves after two years of pent-up anxiety, frustrations and fear.
At the events organised by the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) and private promoters, people understandably threw caution to the wind and enjoyed themselves. They hugged each other unlike anything seen in the last 24 months. At Carnival Escape, Color Fete, J’Ouvert and Carnival Monday and Tuesday, Vincentians demonstrated in their thousands that they were much more intelligent than the Damned Foolish Men they elected to rule them in December 2020.
From daily experience, besides the engineered fear, panic and mass hysteria, they knew the COVID plandemic was never an existential threat. Thanks to social media, they could see and share the experiences of renowned doctors and scientists. They saw with their own eyes that COVID was a danger to the very old, very sick and those with compromised immune systems. They saw that, once mass vaccination began, more and more persons died. In 2020, when there were no vaccines, only 12 Vincentians died with COVID. After the vaccines were introduced in January/February 2021, more than 100 Vincentians died with COVID. This is the inconvenient truth.
The sensible attitude of our people was always reflected in how they responded to the perceived threat. When Government announced a “spike”, more people wore masks. When the “infection” numbers fell, people removed their masks.
The governments of Antigua and Trinidad dropped their mandates in November of 2021, the same month that PM Gonsalves imposed the mandates on Vincentians. Clearly, the mandates were ill advised because the vaccines proved leaky, ineffective and unable to stop transmission. Immediately after Gonsalves imposed the mandates, government institutions that were staffed only with vaccinated employees had to be closed because the vaccinated were testing positive repeatedly.
By April 2022, the British Government, with far more scientific knowledge than us, dropped all vaccine mandates. Much of Europe has dropped their mandates. Sweden never imposed mandates. Israel, Japan, Singapore and South Africa dropped their mandates months ago. British PM Boris Johnson and PM Gonsalves are still falling ill with COVID even after taking four and five doses of the vaccine.
To show how the world has been led down a foolish path, it would defy scientific knowledge three years ago if news broke that a “fully vaccinated” person had fallen ill within weeks of taking a vaccine that should have shielded him from infection. Yet national policy is made on such shoddy science.
Four months ago, I penned a column entitled “Doubling down on evil”. Some might not have seen the callous underpinnings in the Jab or lose your job policy. Does the unvaccinated remain a danger to our health and wellbeing? Hopefully, the celebration of carnival while hundreds lost their jobs and continue to suffer graphically brings the point home to the sceptics.
For eight months now, hundreds of Vincentians employed by the government were thrown onto the bread line. Like hundreds more in the private sector employees, they were made to suffer because of an ill-advised, impractical, unworkable, oppressive, unscientific, and illegal policy.
The Government-sponsored carnival activities ending last Tuesday prove that Gonsalves and his ministers are cynical and morally bankrupt. They are ethically challenged and deserve to be punished by the Vincentian public whenever the opportunity arises.
If this government wants this nation to heal and breathe freely yet again, it must immediately remove the COVID mandates, reemploy all dismissed public employees and encourage the public sector employers to do likewise.
*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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].