Don't end up carrying the donkey, PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

I believe Prime Minister Andrew Holness got the message during his vaccination tour of East Kingston and Port Royal last September, where he encountered a group of young people who chanted in concert when he was leaving the vaccination site, “No lock down, no lock down!”

Jamaica paid a heavy price as a result of the last round of restrictions, during which no-movement days were implemented during the work week. Though it was necessary to stop the spread of the more dangerous Delta strain, it was hugely unpopular and created great frustration in the population.

Most Jamaicans are past COVID-19 and, for them, the pandemic ended last year August.

Mask-wearing, social distancing, and curfews, regardless of how safe they have kept us, are now negatively impacting on their lives and livelihoods in greater ways than COVID-19 itself. Worst yet, over 70 per cent of eligible Jamaicans, including perfectly informed citizens and health professionals have decided not to be vaccinated. These Jamaicans oppose curfews and lockdowns, do not abide by the protocols, and refuse vaccination, and after two years of begging and beseeching, arresting partygoers, and fining people for breaching curfews and not wearing masks, what more can we reasonably ask the prime minister to do? The solutions have all been tried and tested and the people in our democracy have ultimately decided.

The argument is, in fact, done.

Let us move on with our lives.

While some people, particularly in media, who believe they are well thinking, are critical of the prime minister's position, they have no feasible solutions to offer other than lockdowns, which they also reject. Most of the population agree with the prime minister's no-more-lockdown stance and other tighter measures but, obviously, not his recommendation for vaccination. Therein lies the conflict and irrationality of Jamaica's situation.

Essentially, Jamaicans are willing to take the risk with COVID-19. By their calculation they are at a higher risk of being murdered and dying in motor vehicle crashes than dying from COVID-19.

They believe they have sacrificed enough.

They can't cope with their children being at home, the loss of income, and the limitation on their business operating hours.

The pandemic is having an incalculable effect on our mental health. It has introduced a great deal of uncertainty and pessimism into our lives and increased cynicism in our outlook on the future.

False prophets, occultists, conspiracy theorists, separatists, fringe elements, anarchists, and outright mad people going live on social media have become the centre of public attention, driving narratives and leading public opinion. Worse yet, entertainment, which is an important part of how Jamaicans handle stress, has essentially been outlawed and driven underground in order to fight the pandemic. The problem is that we are creating another pandemic, the pandemic of madness and social and economic disruption in our country.

I recall that, as early as October last year, the prime minister, in Parliament, announced that going forward there would be no more lockdowns and a gradual relaxation of the curfews and the other non-clinical public health measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act. His pronouncement now is consistent with this earlier announcement; except, he appears to have stayed any further relaxation until after the end of this Omicron wave.

It is a good strategy, supported by the vast majority of Jamaicans, who can now plan with the certainty that the Government will not, out of the blue, impose disruptive measures, and it gives hope that a return to normality is not far off.

The differing views on the pandemic and measures to handle it bring to memory the story about the father and son taking their load to market on a donkey. People began to criticise the father about the burden on the donkey. Everything the father did to lessen the load on the donkey and still get to market was itself criticised to the point that the father ended up carrying the donkey to satisfy the critics.

Mr Prime Minister, stand firm on your decision, if you follow those critics and naysayers, who have the privilege of holding a microphone or a pen, you will end up carrying the donkey, and we will not reach our destination.

markwilliams086@gmail

BY MARK WILLIAMS

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy