As restrictive measures continue to be imposed on a financially challenged and emotionally drained society, the team of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton shows no sign of having even the smallest scrap of respect for the people — whom it is their job to serve.
It seems they have discarded, like filthy rags, the voices of the majority, while the minority-supported autocracy doubles down on their errors, even as the little support they previously enjoyed wanes.
This attitude only serves to lend credence to all the conspiracies circulating as to their motives.
What force on Earth could possibly be motivating them to ignore every alternative which would reconcile them with the Jamaican people? Why have they abandoned reason?
As I listen to the testimonies of people who have taken a first shot, but vehemently reject the thought of a second, alongside many who got two shots and are now crying foul at the idea that they need other shots, I have no doubt that this was an ill-informed initiative. Several questions keep popping up with no response from the relevant authorities.
1) Why have we abandoned protocols applied to new illnesses which affront us?
Catching illnesses early and trying to stop them before they get worse and cause major damage has always been the way to go. This is what we do in cases of every cancer and sexually transmitted infection (STI). Suddenly, with this one virus and its variants, we are being instructed that there is no treatment, and the people who insist there is no treatment also tell us to ignore the advice of countless doctors who are having great success treating patients. How are we justifying this blatant contradiction?
2) Why is the Ministry of Health and Wellness insistent on spreading misinformation?
Even when Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has deviated from his earliest message and now admits that fully vaccinated people are getting and spreading the virus too, our health minister still goes around telling people they should take the shot to avoid getting gravely ill. The reality is that all of us know a few people who are fully vaccinated and still got very sick. It is also a fact that even if you are vaccinated you can still spread the virus. This is why the minister is now branded as disingenuous.
3) If the benefit of the shot is individual, why is there such an aggressive thrust to jab the entire collective?
Why are corporate entities singling out employees who have opted to not take the shots for costly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at their own expenses, when the vaccinated can equally catch and transmit the virus?
4) Why is there a one-size-fits-all approach to this phenomenon? Why is there no mention of exceptions for illnesses which may be exacerbated by the injections?
5) Most importantly, why is there no visible engagement with contending views?
Instead of trying to muzzle dissenters with force, why doesn't the ministry invite public conversation from professionals dedicated to finding a solution? Is it a solution we seek, or have we decided that the vaccine is the only route we are willing to consider?
If the vaccine is the only route we are willing to consider, then it's safe to say none of this is about our health. People have cured their cancers by dietary and lifestyle change, so can you imagine if we mandated chemotherapy which causes its own share of damage? Not everybody survives chemo.
When I hear people saying every vaccine has side effects, as if the people affected are of no value or importance, I cringe. Would Andrew Holness be willing to lose a loved one to myocarditis? Would Christopher Tufton be willing to miss out on all future exciting health campaigns and give up the ghost? Why are we not concerned about the reports of possible vaccine-related illnesses and death? What kind of person thinks he or she has the right to order someone else to go take a risk that the person does not want to? And how do we justify the adamant rejection of liability?
If these vaccines are as safe as Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Health Minister Christopher Tufton insist, why don't they personally accept liability? If employers are insisting their staff be vaccinated, then the staff should present them with legal documents assuming responsibility in the event of vaccine injury.
All of these questions and more are on the lips of the populace, but nobody from the Andrew Holness-led Government seems to think it's important enough to take the time to respond.
That leads me to my final question for today: Does the Jamaica Labour Party miss its position as Opposition? This is a lot of confidence to invest in the electorate, especially when 60 per cent have made it abundantly clear in previous elections they find you vapid!
Tanya Stephens is an international singer/songwriter and citizen of Jamaica