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An open letter to our government

Dear Sir,

I am a 19-year-old Bermudian studying business at the University of Edinburgh and I wish to address something to our government.

Buses take the BA flight passengers to a government-approved facility for a mandatory 14-day quarantine period early in the pandemic (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

My generation is being punished and imprisoned on account of fear, punished by our own government and being held collectively responsible for several acts of individual irresponsibility — the minority of young people who have broken quarantine and spread this virus at illegal parties, etc.

To describe the new mandatory hotel quarantine for Bermudian students who wish to come home as “controversial” would be an understatement. It is to all intents and purposes an act of imprisonment and discrimination against a section of society; specifically the younger generation who did not have a choice whether or not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Britain, and were already abroad when this policy was announced.

The 14-day quarantine rule has no scientific basis. It’s not an act to protect public health; it’s to help maintain the public’s trust. If you want the public to trust you, don’t punish a whole generation; simply educate Bermuda with relevant facts and stop spreading fear.

To force students to leave university early — the future generation of Bermuda’s prosperity and growth — and to throw away schooling opportunities and, most importantly, skills that we will bring back to Bermuda in order to avoid this immoral incarceration is so irresponsible and inconsiderate of the Government.

Not only have my generation’s futures been completely disregarded — after all, it is us that will suffer the burden of our public debt — but additionally our mental health has not been taken into consideration on any account.

I highlight these facts in this response to the Government’s actions in an entirely apolitical way. My point is to raise the overriding principle that fairness is extremely important to my generation, and I believe that this act of confinement is unjustified and unreasonable — especially for my age group.

A government that is afraid to face its own people about a new regulation says it all. Our government was not only afraid to face its own parliament about the 14-day hotel quarantine, it also moved this so-called very effective measure to a total of three different dates — June 8, 13 and 20. If this mandatory quarantine is so important and effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19, why didn’t it come into effect immediately? Why is it being thrown around like a Frisbee?

I sit here writing this in Britain, having just finished my first year of university, feeling completely let down and frustrated by the Government. As soon as it was possible, I sought to get vaccinated. I am waiting to receive my second Covid-19 vaccination, having just received my first. I am not able to return home to Bermuda to see my father and grandmother, who I have not seen in more than six months, as I refuse to let my mental health deteriorate further by being confined in a small room for two weeks.

I fully understand the severity of Covid-19 and the need to protect public health; however, there are moral and scientific-based measures to protect the public from the spread of the virus. This is most definitely not it.

Bermuda has had a resilient and strict approach to Covid-19 over the past 15 months, which my generation have adhered to and accepted, all for protecting the more vulnerable in Bermuda. However, I draw the line when my generation are being exploited and penalised on the basis of gaining public trust. I know that many people feel trapped in my situation — longing to return home or choosing to sacrifice their education.

I am not alone in my view. My generation communicate widely on social media and there is a strong feeling that we have not been heard and have been drowning in measures and laws throughout the whole of the pandemic.

However, now is the time to speak up, to state that our interests and needs must be considered and to seek to protect our futures from ill- considered and politically convenient actions.

MILLA WOLFFE

Edinburgh, Scotland

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Published June 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 25, 2021 at 6:43 pm)

An open letter to our government

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