Talking and listening
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
As adults, we tend to put way too much stock in what is said on social media.
In my own experience and opinion, as grown people, we should not be afraid to publicly dialogue, debate and disagree. We have done it with several hot-topic issues affecting Bermuda and the wider world.
For example, racism, same-sex marriage, immigration, politics, Covid-19, vaccines, quarantines and, of course, Cup Match.
No matter our online spats, the world did not stop revolving, nor did the sky fall in.
We may fall out here and there; however, from what I have seen, all of us do become more versed in diverse facts when we have avid debates.
More so, when you are in certain positions, it is incumbent to actually be mature enough to be able to stand up on your feet to present your case.
Otherwise, it comes across as if you are ducking controversial issues.
At times, depending on the subject matter, some people may not like what you have to say, but they will never be able to say that you are afraid to stand up and say it.
The main thing in a debate is to know your subject matter, speak with confidence and, yes, be willing to listen to other viewpoints.
During my short trip to the British Virgin Islands two weeks ago, I observed many things that set off some red flags in my mind.
Despite daily positive messaging from both the Government and private sector, people were openly defying basic regulations:
• A hyperactive anti-vaccination campaign where many radio hosts are actively spreading conspiracy theories daily
• Those that should be quarantined at home for seven days were out in public and/or cohabitating with others who come out in public
• A low vaccination rate of less than 35 per cent immunised
•Lack of social distancing
• Large proportions of persons not wearing masks.
The signs were all there that things were heading in the wrong direction when nearly 30 persons who attended a school graduation tested positive.
I say all this to say that it is sad to see how quickly things have gone bad, as over the past ten days, the BVI, with a population of only 30,000 persons, has recorded more than 1,300 active cases of Covid-19.
Unfortunately, if this trend continues, thousands working in hospitality could possibly go back to being unemployed, their sole hospital will see an increase in admissions and many may come down with long Covid.
The saddest part is that there have been four recent deaths attributed to Covid-19, with two siblings dying within days of each other.
The reality is that what is happening in BVI could very easily happen in Bermuda.
If we allow ourselves to believe in conspiracy theories, slacken our border control, and abandon all the hard lessons learnt over the past 15, the Delta variant will take over our community as well.
Have no doubt about that.
Despite what some folks may wish to believe, the world is facing yet another wave, or set of waves, of Covid-19 and its variants that could very well result in the resumption of full or partial lockdowns.
Here is a snapshot of what is going on regionally and internationally.
The governments of Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada and St Kitts & Nevis have all officially stated that they will no longer allow entry to their islands of any visitors that are not fully immunised.
The governments of Canada and Malta have said the same thing as well.
In both France and Greece, all healthcare workers and nursing home staff must now be immunised.
In France, where people love to socialise, the Government has decreed that a “health pass”, showing that a person has been immunised or has had a recent negative test, would be needed to enter bars and restaurants.
Each government will choose its own methodology. However, one thing is clear: each government must protect its borders and its citizens within those borders.
The global reality is this: no matter our discourse with each other, Covid-19 is not going away via natural antibodies.
• 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