Sunday Brew — March 7, 2021Sunday, March 07, 2021
with HG HELPS
Yohan Blake's 'fool fool' argument about vaccine
Yohan Blake's list of claims to fame never included being among the smartest.
So it should have come as no surprise that the athlete, who won gold in the 100 metres at the 2011 World Championship because Usain Bolt false started, has stepped forward to make one of the most absurd statements about the use of the vaccine, any approved vaccine, to fight against the brutal novel coronavirus.
Based upon what Blake has said, he would rather not go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan later this year, if it required him to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Although organisers of the Games have said that getting vaccinated would not be a requirement to participate at the Olympics, Blake's stupidity could have an earth shattering effect on people who are, like him, ignorant of the efficacy of vaccines. It is those silly ones who will make the process of global recovery far more difficult.
My advice to Blake is that he should try and find another way of excluding himself from the Olympic Games, because he is not guaranteed a place in Jamaica's top three qualifiers for the 100 metres or 200 metres, and could even struggle to make the sprint relay team.
If he really wants to go to Japan, he should focus, heavily on his training, and stop, directly or indirectly, trying to influence people to follow him in adopting his caveman approach to dealing with something that has set back this world like nothing else in the last 100 years.
I wonder what some of those companies which backed Blake to function like an ambassador in certain commercials and projects are thinking now?
And will he influence even the people of Bogue in St James, where he is from, and who fondly call him 'Claude', into thinking that they too should boycott COVID-19 vaccines?
At a time like this, if you hear someone expressing a preference for a particular vaccine then you leave that one alone. But for people to be still believing in those Anancy-like stories that a vaccine is going to turn you into a frog eventually [which is not what I am suggesting that Blake is saying] then some of us are still far away from civilisation.
Wickedness at University Hospital
How best can one describe what happened to teenager Jalisa McGowan when she turned up at the Accident & Emergency Unit of University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) for treatment last Friday, after, from reports, suffering an asthma attack?
It is yet another example of how poor people are treated in this country by health care workers, who dropped the word 'care', and instead acquired the word 'callous'. There have been too many similar stories, and you are left to wonder how long conduct like this one will be allowed to continue without firm action being taken against the guilty ones.
The UHWI is, perhaps, the foremost medical facility in Jamaica. A training institution, it is not in the classic sense regarded as entirely public, but there is a link, and the State still has control over it.
But here again, someone, in this case a sweet 17-year-old girl from my dad's legendary school, Kingston Technical High, paid the price for facing cold-hearted people who do not understand the meaning of the word 'emergency'.
Enough is enough! The time has come for Jamaicans to register their disgust at the treatment of people at such institutions of health care. For too long the people have been suffering from the ruthless treatment of some of those involved. They need to do better. They must do better. It makes no sense complaining about working conditions if you decide to stay in the system, so when people complain of low salaries, etc, that's irrelevant. It was they who decided to work in the system. They were not forced to. Humans must be respected, and they should not have to visit private institutions to earn that respect.
The UHWI fell down here. No statement from the institution can atone for this vulgar behaviour. As bad as things are, I doubt that this could have happened at Cornwall Regional Hospital, which, from my personal experience, offers preferential treatment to asthmatic patients and personnel there go out of their way to maintain that tradition.
Better has to come.
Forbes' acquittal another stripe for Court of Appeal
He was seen as the bright spark in an otherwise drab police force. So when the corruption trial of Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes went against him, there was utter disappointment across Jamaica and beyond.
Happily, the Court of Appeal days ago corrected the injustice that was meted out to Forbes, thereby further cementing my view of Jamaica's second highest court as the bastion of fairness, because when you comb the evidence you have to wonder why he was convicted in the first place and fined $800,000. The two principals in the original matter also were both found not guilty.
The only question that must be asked of the Court of Appeal is why did the judgement take so long to be finalised, after the matter was heard in 2018?
A lot of time has passed since Forbes was charged, and no one but he knows the pressure that he endured over the years. That pressure must have eased now, but he will always remember those who tried desperately to nail him to the cross without foundation. There are so many of those around. You are often forced to interact with them daily, and then you wonder why people have to behave like that. But God made all kinds, and it is the test of one's strength that he goes about the daily exam of survival and passes it with flying colours.
Senior Superintendent James Forbes has cleared a major hurdle on the way to passing that test. Hail that man!
New restrictions are not the best
The more the Government comments on managing the COVID-19 situation, is the more it shows that it does not know how to handle it.
Last Sunday's news conference called by Prime Minister Andrew Holness was meant to ease the burden on Jamaicans, as cases continue to rise and deaths increase too. But the latest measures are mere band aid solutions to a matter that warrants surgical attention.
One of the challenges that we face in Jamaica is that we introduce laws like dirt, but when it comes to enforcing them, we fall flat. Placing a ban on funerals for two weeks, for example, is unwise. Apart from the fact that the grabbing-at-straws decision was taken without consulting funeral home operators, the Government ignored a key element, in that there are religious folks here who, based upon their spiritual beliefs and stipulations, must bury their deceased within a certain time frame.
I did not realise how serious that matter was until 1996 when I was at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Richard Ashenheim (now deceased) was there to write for the Gleaner, and during the event his brother died. He insisted that he had to leave that same day or early next morning to reach Jamaica, so that he could attend the funeral which would be held within a short time, based upon his religion. I think it was somewhere between 48 and 72 hours he had said.
Now, what do you tell the Arabs, Jews and Hindus of this country who have to deal with their dearly departed and who are not into the prolonged activity as the typical Jamaican Christian and non-Christian?
But back to enforcement; rules must be followed, or else there will be anarchy. Knowing how Jamaicans are, you cannot just lay down laws and expect everyone to abide by them. That's why we have a police force. The Government should insist that anyone who is primarily responsible for managing the funeral of a loved one must inform the police of the details, so that at least two representatives of the constabulary can be there to monitor proceedings. Instead, you are going to continue to have overcrowding.
It was interesting to see the Government allowing weddings to continue with 25 people in attendance, when weddings, it appears, would be the easiest events that could wait, even if potential wives find policemen husbands-in-waiting with delectable personal offerings and want to push things forward as quickly as possible.
When family and friends have to deal with the loss of a loved one, it is grief. They usually want closure, some quickly. So prolonging funerals, and forcing people to pay more for storage place unnecessary stress on those affected.
The matter of storage of bodies at funeral homes is another huge mess that this country will not want to have to handle. That silly ban must be overturned now. It is not a dead business. It has alarming significance.
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