EDITOR, The Tribune
The advent of the deadly and highly contagious Corona Virus a/k/a ‘COVID-19’ has upended everything and everyone’s plans for the present and for the future worldwide. Here at home we are between a rock and a very hard place. This is the so-called flu season and when compounded with the known symptoms of COVID-19 the average Bahamian may well be confused and perplexed beyond measure.
What exactly is Corona virus and where did it, in fact come from? What are the recommended ‘cures’ besides isolation and medical treatment in severe cases? Has/is the administration doing a good job at educating our people and providing them with the tools to combat this epidemic? Is social distancing really working locally and are people adhering to the same religiously? Why is there numerous cases of panic buying and long lines at food stores with few, if any, police and Defence Force officers in sight?
The nation is in lockdown except for urgent and necessary matters. It has been speculated that this lock down may well be extended by another few weeks. One is able to understand the rational behind this but is this a guarantee that all future cases of potential COVID-19 will be eliminated or reduced to the irreducible minimum? No one in authority is saying anything about this. When will it be safe to declare the “all clear” for the average Bahamian? How long will this situation exist based on scientific models?
The above are just a few of the questions that many are asking and seeking sensible answers to. The uncertainty is probably causing more anxiety that the possibility of one contracting the virus. It has been suggested that COVID-19 is akin to influenza or the common cold from which tens of thousands of persons, worldwide, die each year during the flu season. While the common flu is also contagious it does not appear to be as deadly as the corona. Another vexing issue is that of personal finance.
It is commonly recommended that a working individual should ideally have about three (3) months worth of potential income and/or savings to tide one and his/her family over during national and personal emergencies. The Bahamas has been in the economic dog house for a number of years. We have long pretended that we are a first world nation and spent lavishly on all sorts of totally unnecessary items and fetishes. The proverbial chicken has now come home to roost.
Acknowledging that the majority of Bahamians are not economically braced for the long term effects of the Coronavirus debacle what while the government, as a last resort, be doing to alleviate the looming economic hardship that may well decimate tens of thousands of the unwashed masses? The politicians and their allies will be fine, I suppose, but the casual workers or those who would have had no employment prior to the arrival of this debilitating virus are set to catch economic and mental hell in short order.
What will be done by the individual churches where congregants would have been tithing and storing up in the store house for these many years? I would encourage each individual church where possible reach out to its membership and offer each a B$100 food and a B$25.00 gas voucher on a one time or perhaps monthly basis depending on the length and severity of COVID-19. Now is the time for the churches to demonstrate Christian charity and Agape love. I have no doubts that the pastors and first ladies are straight.
A wonderful book was written by the late Frantz Fanon which chronicled the emergence of the Pan African movement and the throwing off the shackles of colonialism. The Coronavirus will usher in a new age of colonialism in that all nations are now going to become dependent on each other. The world’s economies have gone South and will not be coming back North anytime soon. Survival of the fittest will become the normal if it was not before.
The uncertainty is going to inflict more damage than any other factor. I am looking forward to a comprehensive and sensible economic stimulus package by the administration. In the same vein , I would fully expect the PLP and its leadership to come up with viable alternatives. It is no use simply saying that Minnis and crew may be short on solutions, long and short term, if you yourself have so little or nothing to ensure that we all emerge from this hot mess in one piece.
Charles Dickens, an English author, said it well centuries ago that: “These are the times that try men’s souls....” I am more than persuaded that if one has not yet found and embraced spiritualism he/sh will more than likely do so now. It is my proposition that focused prayers to The Lord God will avail us well and even beyond measure. To God then, in all of these vexing things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, JR.
March 29, 2020