By Dr Marlene Attzs, Economist
Thought I would pen my last column for 2020 with my own Parang refrains. What a year!
We rang in the new year and new decade expectantly: new, crisp, hundred-dollar bills—the polymers—circulating in T&T; great excitement around another Carnival season – the music both regionally and nationally promised to be of high standard; carnival costumes were being paid for; Panorama plans were being made; general elections would be in 2020 and the list went on.
The anticipation was palpable.
And ‘jes so’ as the merry monarch was leaving via one exit, COVID-19 aka Ms Corona—the unwelcomed visitor—entered through another. Who actually ‘invited’ Ms Corona remains a mystery but, as happens sometimes with guests, we had no choice but to grimace and bear it, sigh, sigh, sigh!
Ms Corona led to a national lockdown: closure of bars, businesses, KFC, doubles, roti, Chinese. Many resorted to YouTube to learn to cook ‘corned beef and rice’ and doubles, sigh, sigh, sigh!
Naturally, the fallout from corona was significant and still is being assessed. The direct costs are evident, but the challenge lies in the indirect, yet to be counted impacts: those lockdown measures designed to “flatten the curve”, sigh, sigh, sigh!
The disruption of education since March 2020 for so many children, sigh, sigh, sigh!
Those persons in abusive relationships who had no jobs to “escape” to, sigh, sigh, sigh!
Those who became unemployed as businesses folded, sigh, sigh, sigh!
The mental health toll on those living alone who had to deal with Ms Corona by themselves, sigh, sigh, sigh!
Those who succumbed to Ms Corona, sigh, sigh, sigh!
But then there were the positive sides to Ms Corona. Some small businesses—particularly food, beverage and mask-making departments flourished, hooray, hoorah!
There was a greater sense of community and family; spending time together brought out the best in many, hooray, hoorah!
Many parents had to take greater interest in their children’s education and, more importantly, what they were (or were not doing) online, hooray, hoorah!
Many entrepreneurs had to cross the digital divide to online shopping and curbside delivery since these became the norm once the restrictions permitted, hooray, hoorah!
Then there were the burgeoning home farmers among us. Everyone had a backyard garden given the limitations on gatherings in public spaces including markets, hooray, hoorah!
I had a small supporting role in the national COVID-19 response and therefore had the opportunity to meet a cadre of extraordinary professionals, public officers—the nurses, doctors, other health sector professionals.
Added to these were the members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service who, since March 2020, have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, to keep Trinbagonians safe. A heartfelt Hooray, Hoorah to these champions!
The year 2020 was historical for the world and for us in Trinbago. Personally, I am grateful that I was able to witness the history as it unfolded in our small island.
Ms Corona came but we collectively persevered and showed her that we small but tallawah!
Hooray, Hoorah to my fellow Trinbagonians and on to 2021.
That’s just my point of view, ahyee ahyee!