We can take the pushback but keep it civil
After 18 months of constant changes to regulations, rules and requirements, people rightfully question why the Bermuda Government, as with all other governments around the world, have put untold amounts of Covid-19 measures in place.
Most of these measures are not what we have been used to all our lives:
● Vaccines as adults
● Quarantines for travellers
● Nasal tests to travel, or in some cases, to work
● Apps for tracing Covid outbreaks
Most human beings will be rightfully “fed up” with it all and begin to voice their angst.
Elected officials are all human and subject to human emotions. We, too, experience and understand the angst, frustrations and, yes, we even appreciate the non-violent protests.
Most elected officials have had to bear the brunt of the frustrations of family, friends, co-workers and those who voted for them.
Without a doubt, there will be some relationships that very well may be beyond repair owing to differences of opinion regarding Covid and the measures put in place to mitigate the carnage.
Speaking for myself, many of my long-term friends have accused me and others of taking part in the genocide of our own people.
It is one thing to take outlandish and false accusations from political opponents; that is to be expected. However, hearing or reading certain words from those you know and love cuts deeper than a knife.
Such is the impact of the words that some elected officials in the region may consider never to run for politics again.
From a regional perspective, Covid-19 continues its path of economic destruction.
In the twin-island republic of St Kitts & Nevis, the Government has, as of June 11, had to go into a one-week, well, at least one week, lockdown because of rising Covid numbers.
The original source was an incoming visitor causing community spread.
The island of Anguilla has also had to adopt similar, unpopular quarantine measures as Bermuda as a result of imported cases causing health challenges and economic havoc.
Luckily, in both islands, they have not seen the death rates as we have seen in Bermuda.
In our “mother country” of Britain, the government of Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has had to delay fully reopening their economy for at least another month owing to the rapid spread of the delta variant.
Essentially, Bermuda is not alone in having to continue to have unpopular Covid measurements in place.
The unfortunate reality is that all governments take a severe financial loss when their respective economies are under a lockdown or are not fully operational.
Unfortunately, far too many think that the Bermuda Government, or any other government, is simply flexing its “legislative powers” to put in restrictions to irritate the very same people who voted them in.
The sad reality is that in Bermuda, we have lost more than $200 million in tax revenue, which is directly attributed to a lack of economic activity since 2020. Additionally, we have had to pay out an unexpected $150 million in Covid-related expenses.
So, a net loss of $350 million or, roughly, $1 million per day.
This situation is echoed around the region.
Let me be frank: no government is trying to have added expenses, loss of taxes and loss of votes. None.
To all critical thinkers, please keep asking those reasonable questions. That is what generates the answers that inform the populace. It actually makes us a stronger government.
Back to the original point, no one likes what has had to be put in place. No one.
In closing, the sad reality is that whether in the Caribbean or Britain, Covid-19 continues to cause economic havoc.
Therefore, as frustrating as it may be, the options are not as simple or cut-and-dry as to say "just open up and hope all goes well“.
Covid simply does not play fairly by any known rules.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org