Thursday, March 4, 2021
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MESSAGE FOR THE LONG WEEKEND

We are now well into the Long Weekend created by the declaration of Friday-January-22-2021 and Monday-January-25-2021 to be Public Health Holidays. The Honourable Prime Minister appealed to us to dedicate this weekend to rest and reflection. He urged us to stay off the roads and spend as much time as possible at home. The objective was to reduce the extent of public interactions and therefore the potential for the further spread of COVID-19, without resorting to a disproportionate response like a full-scale lockdown.

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I believe the Prime Minister showed great sensitivity to all considerations and stakeholders. He is of course adamant that there is no need for what he often colourfully terms “draconian Chinese measures.” Our Comrade is not easy at all. The government’s approach is informed by a lot of wisdom, common sense and experience. However, no response is error-proof as the Prime Minister himself admitted.

A lockdown can do a great deal of economic damage and probably is not justifiable on public health grounds. I am sure that the Chamber of Industry and Commerce would appreciate the way the government is going about its business because it is surely better to close up shop for 2 days than for 2 weeks.

We are of course responding to a situation in SVG of a recent upsurge in COVID-19 cases – in the three weeks between December-28-2020 and January-17-2021 there have been 357 cases of COVID-19 in persons with no travel history (compared with no more than 6 such cases in the preceding 9 months).

The success of the Long Weekend project depends on the cooperation of the public. It was announced as a part of a strategy to “flatten the curve.” It is now more incumbent than ever upon us to be responsible citizens and to demonstrate by our actions that we could rise to the biblical standard of loving our neighbour like ourselves.

I actually welcome the little break from all the hustle and bustle of usual activity. We get the chance to spend some quality time with our families and count our blessings. I prepared for it by going to the supermarket and stocking up on some essential supplies (basically my favourite foods). I put some thought into what I might do to fill up my time this weekend. I am doing some reading and writing. Right now I am working my way through an interesting book by Michael Manley called The Politics of Change.

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I plan to play some of my favourite board games. I might be consumed for a while by several rounds of Scrabble with my mom and siblings in the battle for word supremacy. Hopefully, I gain the upper hand J Monopoly is also one of the options. It is also likely that I would challenge my brother-in-law to a duel in the card game “500.”

This weekend also gives me a golden opportunity to teach my nieces and nephews the joys and wonders of the backyard and play some outdoor games like cricket and football with them. If we look at the weekend in this way, we would realise that it provides the perfect opportunity for bonding with some of the most important people in our lives.

What are your plans for this weekend? I hope that while you relax and engage in fun activities you would spare a moment to whisper a prayer for the persons affected by COVID-19 and the men and women working overtime to protect the health of the nation while we enjoy peace and tranquility in our homes. They are our capeless heroes as Jamesy-P put it and guardian angels of life.

The journey to the end of COVID-19 as a pandemic could be made so much easier if we would work and rally together as one people in spirit of national cooperation. God bless you and God bless our nation.

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