What a climax to an already tumultuous year!
With just days before we put a wrap on everything that was 2020, it refuses to go quietly and Vincentians are being given a send-off like no other – eruptions are taking place at our volcano and we have recorded the first two Covid-19 cases for which the source of infection cannot be identified.
Despite these recent developments, there is every reason to look to the future with optimism. Vincentians’ record of dealing with natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions is good. Compared with 41 years ago, when La Soufriere last erupted, our means of communication and transportation are greatly enhanced, the science of volcanology has advanced and our emergency management and response systems are well established and robust.
Similarly, St Vincent and the Grenadines can be proud of the manner in which our Covid-19 response was managed by the Government to date. It has been nine months since the first case was identified here, and all during this time, our health authorities, through hard and smart work, were able to keep the virus at bay. We thank the front-line workers – members of the Covid-19 task force, doctors, nurses, lab technologists, police and coast guard officers for identifying the virus at our ports, insisting on strict quarantine measures for people arriving from high-risk countries, and conducting extensive contact tracing and testing whenever a case slipped through the cracks.
But with the identification of the most recent Covid-19 cases, we have entered a new, critical phase of our management of the pandemic. The success of this phase is much more dependent on the behaviour of our people and our adherence to the protocols than in earlier phases. In previous months, the chief medical officer had recommended that masks be worn where social distancing could not be ensured, now, she is strongly urging residents to wear masks whenever they leave their homes. We would do well to take her advice and to think twice about being part of mass gatherings. Business houses and other places where people congregate should resurrect the protocols that were put in place between May and July, then discontinued; recent developments indicate they are needed now, more than then.
But as we move into 2021, we have every reason to believe that St Vincent and the Grenadines will successfully weather the prevailing storms. We are confident in the wisdom of our leadership and resiliency, discipline and good sense of the Vincentian people. Let us work hard together to defeat the double challenge of a rumbling volcano in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, management and staff of Interactive Media Limited, publishers of Searchlight wish everyone a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. We thank you for your business and look forward to serving you as we go forward.