The news left us at a loss. We’re talking about the disheartening announcement on yesterday’s VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast by our managing director, Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts, that he has Covid-19. It was a dreadful turn of events. We never expected it; we incorrectly thought that that would happen to other people and other companies, but not us. You are familiar with that sort of thinking. But Covid-19 is a word that rhymes with witch. And Covid-19 is certainly no respecter of persons. Much like a roving lion, it has once again raised its ugly, spiky head, insidiously moving among us, seeking whom it may devour. It behooves us to continue taking all the prescribed steps to protect ourselves, our families, and our colleagues.
It was quite early this past Monday morning that our dear Makeda Mikael called this writer to suggest that I do a wellness check on Serpent. She said that she’d spoken to him the night before, and he did not sound well – he seemed out of sorts. She was troubled, especially since she’d been trying to call him all morning, and he was not responding, as he normally did. I called several times fruitlessly. I also made a number of calls to our station manager, Dave Lester Payne, and our human resources manager, Stacy Samuel, asking if they’d heard from Serpent. They’d not heard from him.
Thankfully, Serpent eventually returned my call and shared that he was feeling unwell. He revealed that he’d been experiencing quite a severe headache for the past two days, never mind his use of pain relievers, and he was a bit anxious. He’d never had a headache like that. We spoke for quite a while about switching pain relievers, and so on and so forth, then hung up. The thing is that, I too felt uneasy about Serpent after that call. He was not his usual jovial self. I shared my concern with Dave Lester Payne.
The bombshell news that he was positive was broken by Serpent himself yesterday, and we could not have been prouder of him, what with his forthrightness and courage. He is clearly not in the business of covering up and obfuscating. He was not going to act irresponsibly (the topic of one of his earlier calls to VOICE OF THE PEOPLE this very week), and seek to add fuel to ‘hush-hush’ and whisperings and innuendo. He tackled the matter head-on, and we are enormously proud of him for so doing. Talk about leadership! Seems, Serpent is the sort of guy who will go out on a limb and fight to the last for that which he thinks is the right thing to do. He will fight for truth and justice. He will fight for the poor and the dispossessed. I have seen him in action, and I am impressed. And I don’t impress easy!
Of course, that which has befallen Serpent, ought to be a cautionary tale for us all here in Antigua and Barbuda. Covid-19 is a very real and present danger – a serious threat to life and limb! We ought to pay the more earnest heed to the things which we have been told. Listen to the experts. Do our research. Follow the science.
Look, folks, we had begun to relax, perhaps a bit prematurely – gathering in large groups, hugging and kissing with abandon, forsaking the face masks, and the good social distancing edicts. Many of us who’d earlier become more circumspect in our personal hygiene – refraining from touching our faces, washing our hands frequently, sanitising those regularly touched areas, and gargling, gradually became slackers, giving up on those things that had stood us so well in the past. Many of us who had found religion, were now backsliders. We must return to the old landmarks! A look at the most recent Covid-19 numbers is quite disturbing, and it ought to give us pause. Not to mention the recent deaths. May their souls rest in peace!
Our hearts are heavy here at NEWSCO. Serpent, along with Dave Lester Payne, were tapped by our former boss, Darren Derrick, to pick up the broken pieces from the old OBSERVER to keep the flame of an independent media house alive. Never mind the ‘doubting Thomases’ and the nay-sayers, and against enormous odds, they have kept the dream going. Serpent is our emotional and spiritual leader; we look to him to provide that morale support. He has not failed us yet. We will now be there for our boss, the Mighty Serpent.
Here’s wishing him a speedy and complete recovery. The outpouring of love and support from our many readers and listeners, and the good constituents in the great constituency of St. George, is testament to the high regard in which the Mighty Serpent is held. He’s foremost in our thoughts and prayers! We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.