Many of us know that the government is prevaricating and attempting to evade responsibility for what the population generally knows to be realities in plain sight, for example porous borders persistently penetrated by persons fleeing from Venezuela.
The condonation of ‘society’ events, which were held—contrary to ministerial and other exhortations—to restrict gathering in large numbers even in private spaces is also a live issue. We are not fooled when that complicit slackness is deflected on to ‘irresponsibility’ of the general public.
Dr Roshan Parasram, chief medical officer, and Dr Avery Hinds, chief epidemiologist, have earned the nation’s trust. I quote below what Dr Hinds said last week in response to the arrival into our country of the Brazilian variant of Covid-19 because the government is evading the plain link between the presence of this variant and brief sea crossings to Trinidad from Venezuela, nearby on the South American mainland.
The ministers pretend not to know of the boatloads of persons arriving from Venezuela, who, in some cases, are picked up by waiting vehicles and whisked away, quarantine free, at the direction of criminally-complicit persons.
The prevaricators have a difficulty which Dr Hinds, as a plain-speaking person, does not have. Dr Hinds told us last week that one cannot say definitely that the individual contracted the variant in a particular location or in a particular interaction or encounter. There has not been any difficulty in stating that the variant is a South American variant and would be introduced by that means.
Translation out of diplomatic language: ‘no maths in dat’—namely what are the obvious South American means by which the variant was introduced?
By Tuesday last, the minister of health had to admit the link. In the senate, he reportedly accepted that the variant would have come into Trinidad and Tobago by people entering the country.
Surprise, surprise, he disclosed that a Venezuelan migrant was the first case identified with the Brazilian variant. However he dodged questions at the next day’s media conference about the immigration status of the migrant, smugly hiding behind ‘national security’.
The same day, six out of a capsized boatload of Venezuelans on their way to Trinidad were confirmed dead, having drowned. Sadly many times when evasion or the ego parade is rampant, a tragic event places realities which are well known on the ground into the headlines.
This reconfirms why we cannot trust what the authorities—other than those who keep their professional integrity intact—tell us, or seek to evade, in defiance of reality.
The police tout what they say are falling crime statistics and then ‘braps’, we have a weekend killing spree; the tragedy of which is compounded by the persistently low police detection rate. One statistic, which cannot be evaded, is the reported detection of only 18 of 106 murders for the year.
Returning to the virus and the South American link, the tragedies befalling Venezuelan migrants have stimulated more calls from international agencies for ‘safe pathways’ to migration. Unfortunately, our population is far more anxious about the unsafe pathway to our doorsteps, made so by the entry of the South American virus variant through porous borders.
A commentary on the Covid crisis in India, published in The Atlantic a few days ago and shared with me by one of my younger comperes, reflected my pleas not to be indifferent while others suffer at the hands of vain leaders.
There are several criticisms of the premature boastfulness of India’s prime minister. In The Atlantic, Indian writer and journalist Vidya Krishnan, currently at Harvard, also asserts that ‘the chamber of horrors the country now finds itself in was not caused by any one man, or any single government. It is the greatest moral failure of our generation.’
She laments that the rich and upper classes and castes of India suffer from ‘moral malnutrition’.
We have been complacent about the prevarications of our leaders concerning the South American variant. In light of the prime minster publicly fuming that there are locals running a trade in bringing in people, we must insist now that the absolutely necessary enhanced policing at the notorious points of entry be implemented.