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September 2, 2020

Not a desired position…

By Vernon Khelawan, vkmoose@gmail.com

Here we are in the middle of another compulsory lockdown as the authorities try to fight off a second and more dangerous wave of COVID-19. I guess there can be much speculation as to how we arrived at this situation.

There are many theories floating around—Trinidadians and Tobagonians are too ‘harden’. They ignored the warnings of the health authorities and the government.

We know there have been COVID parties all over the country, even down the islands.

The recent general elections saw crowds of supporters of the various political parties flouting the health regulations.

The Prime Minister himself has said he went into quarantine because of a contact on election night. It was also rumoured the Opposition Leader had become sick. This was denied.

Bars, river and beach limes cannot be pardoned for crowds.

Now we are faced with the feared ‘community spread’. We ask: Do our citizens really care? The number of cases is rising exponentially as is the number of quarantine patients. Deaths have shot up after remaining at eight for months.

I ask again. Is it just plain carelessness? Is it our ‘don’t care a damn’ attitude? Is it a false sense of immortality? Or is it just total irresponsibility?

Whichever it is, as patriots of this country we need absolutely to put the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago first.

The very many people in the country who take COVID-19 for a joke, a ruse, a hoax or something not worth worrying about, need to stop and think about what they are doing, not only to themselves, but to their families, friends, fellow workers and even people they do not even know.

The spike in virus-related cases was not unexpected, if you listen carefully to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), but it was certainly not expected to be so severe—the number of cases by the time this column is read will be well past 1,000. It is not unreasonable that very soon our health facilities would be overwhelmed. Not a desired position.

We might find some measure of enlightenment if we read Philippians 2: 8 which says: “Christ Jesus humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on the cross”.

Or better still, we can read what Pope Benedict XVI wrote more than a decade ago in his ecclesiastical letter Journey Towards Easter. “Self-realisation means we try to create ourselves by possessing our being completely by ourselves, by having life in its totality exclusively for ourselves. The opposite is faith and love. As creatures we don’t exist by ourselves, we cannot make ourselves. We only ‘lose’ our life, or we keep it.”

I turn now to something that has me somewhat perplexed. From all appearances it would seem to me from statements made that the new administration is gung-ho on making the youth of this country a major plank, primarily to dent the crime wave and improve social relations – ‘no child will be left behind’.

But then comes the news that the Hotel School in Chaguaramas would be permanently closed. Reason for the closure although hazy to say the least, has something to do with government subventions and audits. Maybe that’s why the head of the institution suddenly resigned several weeks ago.

Although the new minister held meetings with a number of several stakeholders involved in  education, nothing concrete was said about the hotel school. We wait for a definite statement.

People in the hospitality industry are fully aware of the school’s successes over the years with graduate students serving with distinction in many of the country’s food establishments.

What then is befuddling is why was the rug pulled from under so many students – some ready to graduate while others, planning to become professional practitioners in their various careers. Stranger things have happened!