‘Buying scrap iron, old battery buying… and Covid-19 spreading!’
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh introduced the government’s latest measure to thwart to spread of the deadly novel coronavirus today, which he coined the ‘loudspeaker programme’.
And, no, it is not more complicated than it sounds. Basically, a fellah with a vehicle and loud speaker drives around areas—untainted by wi-fi, television sets and radio—shouts instructions at them like, presumably, ‘stay at home’ and ‘wash their hands’.
So who got this plum contract? Amalgamated director Dr Michael Aboud?
Deyalsingh did not say; but it is hard to look beyond the skill set, experience and market penetration of the ‘scrap iron buying’ posse.
Personally, Mr Live Wire thinks Stuart Young could reach for his megaphone again and make himself useful, once he promises not to start each sentence with: ‘in keeping with the well-thought out, proactive, visionary, first-world thinking of our dear, esteemed honourable leader…’
By which time, ‘Stewie’ would already driven past the entire block.
Or, in a spirit of collaboration, the government could get the United National Congress (UNC) to chip in on this one. Just tell Devant Maharaj that it’s a PNM secret, so doh tell nobody. Everybody bong to know before supper.
As if 1.5 million Covid-19 cases on the planet is not sobering enough, Deyalsingh unearthed more stats to show the threat posed by the disease. Apparently it wreaks havoc on medical wardrobes too.
The health minister revealed that the number of PPE needed to treat one patient are: 158 head caps, 85 surgical masks, 90 N95 masks, 30 face shields, 175 pairs of gloves, 150 pairs of shoe covers, 170 gowns, four protective suits…
Which is astounding—that nobody even has to explain what PPE means anymore! Oh yeah, and that’s a lot of clothes too.
Since Trinidad and Tobago’s unemployment rate is rising by the day, why not open makeshift PPE factories in each borough to make the gear ourselves? How hard it could be to make a shoe cover?
If any gowns left over, they could give to them journalists so they will look more presentable in those virtual press conferences. Mr Live Wire thinks it is only a matter of time before some reporter asks a question from on top dey pillow; and then Darryl Smith will be knocking on their door trying to start a private Covid party.
And speaking of unwelcome house guests, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith revealed that domestic violence reports over the last two months are double those at the corresponding time in 2019.
“To the persons who may be the perpetrators, […] this is no longer business as usual,” said Griffith. “[…] It is not that you can do what you want in your home and expect that nothing can happen. You would continue to have a ‘stay at home’ order but it may not be at your home.”
For real. Men arrested for domestic violence should have to wear pink in prison. Put that in your next public health ordinance, Deyalsingh!
Griffith gave an update too on the case involving two police officers and two soldiers who, at gunpoint, gave a homeless man puncheon to drink before forcing him to jog and do push-ups—which, sadly, is not the most bizarre episode of mixed messaging in the pandemic to date.
“So far we have four persons of interest: two members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, two members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force,” said Griffith. “These individuals would be questioned…”
Wait, did he say ‘would’ be questioned? But the incident happened two weeks ago?! At this rate, Sauce might be selling doubles again before the TTPS ‘solves’ this one.
To be fair though, the police have been working their tails off of late. Just like the nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, supermarket employees, pharmaceutical staff, garbage collectors, the brave essential workers who are keeping the country going and the omni-present Communications Minister Donna Cox—who must have a bed behind the press conference stage or something!—while the non-essential people put their feet up and mind people’s business on Facebook.
Speaking of non-essential, anybody see Fitzgerald Hinds? (Let it not be said that nothing good came out of this pandemic yes.)
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is also taking a brief spell outside of the public glare at present where, apart from remotely cleaning up behind ‘Stewie’, he is spending time with his family in Tobago—following the recent passing of his brother.
With UK prime minister Boris Johnson hospitalised, Russia president Vladimir Putin apparently self-isolating from his people and St Maarten prime minister threatening to slap the taste of crackers out of her citizens’ mouths, Rowley has generally been a reassuring presence at the government’s frequent press conferences.
Although one suspects that not all of his relatives are pleased with his judgment this year. And that sentiment is not without merit.
A sign of good leadership is being visionary and proactive. It is about spotting an opportunity early and seizing the moment. So let Mr Live Wire be blunt:
“How the arse you went Ghana and come back without one damn pallbearer self?!”