The Pied Pipers were ignored

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It was with more than a bit of amusement that we noted that the much-heralded inaugural Covid fete was a smashing failure.

As you know, many of those in high places had spoken so glowingly of this wonderful fete. They had appealed to the supposed carefree nature of our young people, and their longing to ‘wink-up and wine-up.’ And yes, officialdom patted itself on the back for working out all the details with the Antigua and Barbuda Promoters Association, the folks who were putting on the fete.

Of course, the fete was the ‘carrot.’ And the ‘stick,’ so to speak, was the vaccine. The unspoken message was that if one wanted to ‘’wink-up and wine-up,’ one had to be fully vaccinated. It was a part of this administration’s calculus – its ongoing ponderings on how best to seduce, coerce, threaten and induce those who are still “halting between two opinions into taking the vaccine. For example, as reported in this past Monday’s DAILY OBSERVER (July 19,t, 2021), our Prime Minister (PM), the Honourable Gaston Browne, is considering making it mandatory for those who wish to go to bars to be first fully vaccinated.

Mind you, that sort of thinking is not unique to Antigua and Barbuda. News reports out of London, by way of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in today’s DAILY OBSERVER note, “People attending nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather in England will need to be fully vaccinated from the end of September, the government says. Latest figures show 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds have not had their first jab. . . . Boris Johnson said he was concerned by the continuing risk of transmission. . . . “ It is not difficult to imagine that other mandatory vaccination requirements are in the offing, not only in London, but around the world. Remember, some of those in high places have, in the past, expressed frustration with the less-than-robust way in which our national vaccination effort has been progressing. Making the vaccination mandatory for many segments (eg; bar patrons) of our community will certainly bring us to the ‘holy grail’ of herd immunity.

Anyway, in the days following the gleeful announcement about the three-hundred-person fete for those who are fully vaccinated, our very thoughtful and sober voice of reason, Dr Lester Simon, threw more than a little cold water on this notion of a grand party for three hundred vaccinated patrons. He raised several legitimate concerns, and suggested that we should be acting out of an abundance of caution, rather than rushing to ‘wink-up and wine-up.’Needless to say, he was vilified by many of those on high in this administration. It was a new low for the government – denigrating the sentiments of THE MOST TRUSTED VOICE IN THIS COVID FIGHT.

Mercifully, the young people of this country have been listening to the good doctor, and they are adhering to the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is better than a whole pound of cure.”They stayed away from the over-hyped fete in droves, never mind the surfeit of trite and silly promotional chatter. What a flop! Think, the popular slogan from the 1960’s anti-Vietnam war movement: “Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came!” Suppose they threw a fete, and nobody came!

To be sure, most of us are breathing a sigh of relief. After all, thoughtful minds were more than a little apprehensive at the fact that something could have gone amiss, resulting in a mini-outbreak. Good sense prevailed among our young people, and Antiguans and Barbudans can breathe easy.

The lesson to be learned by this craven administration is that our young people ought not to be trifled with. They will not be taken for granted and then charmed into dancing to the beat of the administration’s drum. They won’t be seduced to engage in mindless frivolity by the sound of music. The Pied Pipers of Hamelin came to town, playing sweet music at the Coolidge Cricket Grounds. Thankfully, the mice did not come out to play. They were not going to countenance a lure to possible infections. They were not going to, like lemmings, ‘jump-up’ to their possible deaths.

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