Should we really go back to the ways things were?Wednesday, June 23, 2021
The islandwide cases and deaths from COVID-19 have been trending downwards for some weeks. The Government has rightfully maintained some of its containment measures. The result is that we have seen a sustained decline of new cases and deaths over the past several weeks.
Now the Government is slowly, cautiously, carefully — and, again, rightfully so — signalling a “return to normal activities” by easing many of the restrictive measures.
My questions, however, are: Should we really be returning to all the ways things were before? Should we be returning to a country in which people are attending parties every night of the week…mothers going to parties and leave children to care for infants? Should we be returning to the time when schoolchildren are on the road till 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm at night? Should we be going back to a time when the noise from church services blare out of loudspeakers until the wee hours of the night?
Now, I have nothing against parties; nobody can dance or have a great time at parties like I can! And, similarly, I have nothing against extracurricular activities after school. And I don't have a problem with church in general — well, maybe a little, but that's another story.
I think it's fair to say that if we were honest with ourselves we would have to admit that, as a country, we have devolved into a fairly irresponsible people in many ways. So, shouldn't we use this opportunity to build a more responsible citizenry? Shouldn't we use this time to create a more productive workforce? Shouldn't we use this occasion to put things in place to build family life and community life? Shouldn't we seize this opportunity and make it the “new, better, normal”?
Here's one idea: Set a permanent curfew 11:00 pm - 5:00 am on Sunday to Thursday, and 2:00 am to 5:00 am Friday and Saturday. People can still socialise during the week and and get a good night's rest to go to work the next day — and they can party all they want on Friday and Saturday. Something as simple as this should start to set the environment for building a more productive workforce.
I'm calling on all individuals of influence in business, academia, social and community groups, government, and other social architects to challenge themselves, and, indeed, each other, to find ways to make Jamaica come out better after this pandemic.
We can do it if we want. We can be a better Jamaica!
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