Dr. Fraser- Point of View
January 7, 2022
What does 2022 hold for us?

Many of us start the New Year making resolutions, a ritual really, ‘a rite of order’ that we feel we have to do. It probably gives us some measure of satisfaction and hope. What does hoping for a better 2022 really mean?

The change from 2021 to 2022 does not automatically unleash spirits that are there for us to grab and make the new year better for all of us. December 31 moves on to January 1, a change from one day to another which we have all the time. There was nothing magical about last Saturday. It was simply the day after Friday. It might well have been December 32. What could have been important is if we had spent some time reflecting on the last 12 months and on the parting day . As we enjoyed ourselves as part of a vaccinated crowd let us hope we did not relax our guards since we now know that vaccinated persons could pass on the virus.

Among the concerns for 2022 will be the presence of the new ‘Omicron’ variant which is said to be highly transmissible although so far seemingly not as deadly as the ‘Delta’ variant. I sometimes wonder if we have not reached the stage where we have accepted this as something we have to live with. There are issues that we need to take into account. We still do not know about the long term effect of the virus. The fact that some countries are now talking of another booster might trigger fears that being jabbed regularly during the year will become part of a new reality. The pandemic is still very much with us, and we have to continue to fight it. At least we have to ensure that we do whatever is possible to stay safe by continuing to adopt the protocols since it appears that the authorities are simply leaving it up to us as individuals to carry out our version of the protocols. There is, to my mind, still some ignorance in this area. I have seen people wearing masks take off their masks when they are in a crowd chatting. Social distancing is a No! No! This was clearly obvious over the Christmas/New Year holidays. I noted as reported on January 4, there were 48 new cases with 603 active ones. I hope that our 48 new cases is not the beginning of a spike. If so, I will say that we do not learn. We appear even to be bending back the protocols to accommodate visitors to the country.

The pandemic is not our only concern. Thankfully Soufriere has gone asleep. Some priority must however, be given to arrest some of the problems in the Red Zone. Infrastructure work is urgent. It was sad to see people from the North Windward area being trapped and having to spend hours waiting on the water to subside before finally reaching home in the early hours of Christmas morning.
Should we not rethink our approach to unvaccinated public service workers now we know that even vaccinated people can pass on the virus? What impact will the dismissal of over 200 teachers have on the education system and particularly on those students who are taking their regional examinations?

2021 ended with the issue of a porn video showing an innocent 5 year old girl being abused by a man. Concerns have been expressed about the light sentence given to the perpetrator of that dastardly act, with calls being made for justice reform. The Justice system has itself been subjected to widespread criticism ever since the Cornelius John fiasco. As we look to 2022 the signs are not very good. On the economic side the budget scheduled to be presented next week is unlikely to make a dent on our huge economic problems, even if it could get out of its paddings. No longer should we be passive onlookers! It is time for us to take centre stage! If this was our New Year resolution, then I applaud!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian