Mr Seiveright should cool it

Mr Seiveright should cool it

Friday, September 12, 2014

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WE could not help but observe the continuing political tracing match and obtuse tit for tat involving elements of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the ruling People's National Party that have erupted since cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease started to increase.

Of particular note is the seeming showdown between Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson and the JLP's constituency caretaker for St Thomas East, Mr Delano Seiveright, who will likely challenge Dr Ferguson for the seat in the next general election due in just over two years.

An outbreak of chikungunya is not something of which anyone should gloat. It is, like any other disease, something that we wish would not have landed in the midst of our people, but, alas, we must face reality.

That is why we caution Mr Seiveright in his utterances, as the creation of political discord is something that will not make chikungunya wander off to Jupiter.

The young politician, who once headed Generation 2000, may be suffering from a bout of youthful exuberance, but a matter of this importance ought to be handled with the level of maturity that it deserves.

Mr Seiveright is not a medical doctor, so therefore he cannot place himself in a position from which he can diagnose which citizen has the chikungunya virus. By debating figures with health personnel without the requisite evidence, the young man is merely setting himself up for ridicule, which he would want to stay away from due to his passion for representational politics.

We hear from time to time, the pleading of Opposition politicians for Government to introduce programmes to control the breeding of mosquitoes — atop the list being the cleaning of clogged drains.

However, no government sets out to block drains. It is the citizens of this country, as a whole, who do it, oftentimes deliberately. That is the reality; that is the shame.

The plan henceforth, we strongly believe, ought not to be a call on Government to clean drains, it should be one that goes out to the people generally: Do not throw you refuse in gullies and other areas that will spawn the breeding of mosquitoes. Government should then join with citizens and assist with public education and other support, but all Jamaicans must acknowledge their personal responsibility in advancing and building a clean society.

It is shameful to see how people randomly dump their garbage in public places, and it even appears that the highly-touted Anti-litter Act of yesteryear is no longer in force or simply not being paid any attention by law enforcement.

Everyone should be part of a grand coalition with one blessed aim, and that is to educate and inform the citizens of this country about the dangers of this disease and to promulgate accepted best practices in order to lessen the number of chikungunya cases.

Flying a political-winged chikungunya kite, whether it be green or orange, can only serve to harm our already underfunded health sector, as it really makes no sense to be simply highlighting our failings without putting forward tangible and credible solutions.

Let us, for once, in the cauldron of chikingunya, truly serve the best interest of our people.

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