Failed leadership in the COVID-19 fight

Dear Editor,

At this point in the global efforts against COVID-19, there is enough information to determine what has worked and what has not.

In a June 22, 2020 Time magazine article entitled “The Best Global Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic”, the author, Ian Bremmer, noted that countries that “responded earlier and aggressively had better responses”.

Among several countries, he noted the example of Taiwan, with a population of more than 23 million people, their close proximity to China and their fewer than 500 cases with seven deaths (confirmed by the Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard).

He noted a rapid response to close the borders and quarantining of the infected while businesses remained open, among other factors, as key to keeping infection rates low while not devastating the economy.

Decisions have consequences. Many consequences are foreseeable, but rational decision makers know this.

Every nation on earth was handed the same problem with this virus. It is how they made decisions that determined their outcomes.

Assessing the impact of the decisions made by the competent authority and his medical advisors, I have lost confidence in them to lead the country any further in this pandemic.

Although the prime minister recently reversed his decision to lock down the country “effective immediately” on August 17, the fact that he made the decision at all was mind-boggling, damnable, callous and despotic.

That decision was not a fluke, because he has made many similar decisions before. When the first case of coronavirus was confirmed, he and his medical advisors delayed in closing the border to visitors from affected countries.

They had no clear plan either then or now for how they should approach the problem.

Impromptu lockdown announcements contributed to community spread as people flocked to grocery stores and water depots.

Asking people who tested positive to self-quarantine without a means to monitor or physically isolate them was a public health failure.

They reopened the borders too early and with a phone app, failed to properly track or quarantine infected individuals, encouraging more community spread.

Many have opined that Dr. Hubert Minnis, the competent authority, has had a lot on his plate and no one has had to deal with this kind of catastrophe before, but the rational responses of many nations, Taiwan included, shred these fallacious arguments.

As a people, we are too used to having unqualified decision-makers making decisions while wondering why we don’t have better outcomes for problems.

How many have considered the outcomes of neighboring islands like Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada, etc. or the humane, compassionate leadership of Jacinda Arden of New Zealand, a first time prime minister with no medical experience?

The decision-making of our prime minister and his medical advisors showed gross inexperience, insensitivity and a lack of critical thought and simple common sense.

The default position to repeatedly lock down is one of neophyte decision-makers.

The psychological and socioeconomic effects still reverberate through this archipelago and will for many months.

That the prime minister could singlehandedly destroy the presumption that doctors are supposed to be intelligent speaks volumes. Both the prime minister and his advisors must go, and they must go now.

It is clear that they have nothing to offer.

May the voters of Killarney not repeat their mistake in the next election.


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