The vexing questions

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Now that the official vaccination effort has begun, it is safe to say that we can breathe easier some (pun intended). What a day was this past Wednesday! Sixty-four healthcare frontline workers received the first of two jabs containing the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to rounds of applause and audible sighs of relief. It signaled that the coronavirus will not have the last say here in Antigua and Barbuda.
Based on the words of encouragement, and the fine example set by our Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Rhonda Sealey Thomas, and the many healthcare providers who so bravely stepped up to be vaccinated, we believe that anti-vaxxer sentiment, (and there are isolated pockets of those who are thus inclined), will not prevail, and we will reach the 70 to 80 percent threshold of vaccinations required for herd immunity. As was so nicely put in yesterday’s Cabinet notes: “The status of herd immunity is necessary to cause infections from Covid to be no more deadly than the flu, . . . hospitalizations, all manner of maladies sickness and death will then be brought under control.” At such a time, we will be able to exclaim like the writer, “Oh death, where is thy sting; Oh grave, where is thy victory?”
Meanwhile, it was also heartening to observe the public vaccination of the members of Cabinet yesterday afternoon. Again, their actions will serve to further allay any residual fears that the public might still harbour as to the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Of course, as you can imagine, it was quite awkward to not see a certain member of the Cabinet taking the vaccine on account of the fact that he’d already been vaccinated with another vaccine, several weeks prior. It was was a slap in the face to the noble notion of ‘sink or swim together.’ Think, the valiant army commander leading his troops into battle a la Hannibal Barca, arguably one of the greatest military commanders of all time. If you recall, Hannibal, he of Tunisia (then known as Carthage), scored some of the world’s most astonishing military successes against European and Arab aggression. But so much for local ignominy! We will win this battle against the coronavirus, despite the actions of our commander.
Of course, even in the midst of this battle, we cannot ignore many of the vexing questions that are still on the minds of the people – the questions that intrude on our daily musings with ever increasing frequency. For example: Why has the effort to rehabilitate the adjunct hospital on Nugent Avenue not been brought to completion? What about the ADOMS building? When will those who were supposed to be occupying it, actually move in? And what about the Sunshine Hub car park? We thought that construction projects such as the car park were supposed to be the engine driving our economic recovery. And when will those visitors to Antigua, who cavort and fraternise on our beaches, flouting our mask-wearing and social distancing protocols be brought to heel? We mean, when will the police actually ticket a tourist? Oh no. That will never happen. A tourist getting a ticket from local law enforcement is bad international press. Not good for business. It is understood that they can do whatever the hell they feel like.
Interestingly, schoolchildren have been saying that even the tourists are taken aback at the blatant disparate treatment being meted out to the local populace and visitors, and they have been making their disgust known.
Meanwhile, when will this desperate administration cease making happy-talk and overly optimistic projections about the return of the cruise tourism industry? And when will LIAT be grounded as a prudent matter to save money until this coronavirus crisis is over? And when will severed LIAT workers be made whole?
And what about those 500 quarantine monitoring bracelets? Schoolchildren say that they are quite unreliable and have not been fully utilized. They further claim that, for all intents and purposes, the bracelets are now ornaments in an office somewhere. More money down the drain. And what about the Isolation and Quarantine facility at the Holberton Hospital? Schoolchildren are also not impressed at its functionality. Seems, it leaves a lot to be desired. Glug, glug, glug! That’s the sound of money going down the gutter in Tanner Street, and out to sea.
And what about the 5,000 laptops for our students? Don’t laugh, folks. Those in high places make these grand pronouncements with a straight face.
And, of course, one of the most vexing questions of our time is still, WHO KILLED NIGEL CHRISTIAN, AND WHY?
To be sure, this administration and its lackeys will be annoyed at these nagging questions. They will assert as the saucy singers of the old folk song, “Don’t ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.” But we here at NEWSCO must ask them. It is our remit – to give an airing to the questions on the minds of the people – a tribune, if you will, upholding and defending their rights.. No hard feelings. In fact, we are doing the administration a favour, in the grand tradition of Martin Luther King Jr who declared, “The true meaning and value of compassion is when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.”
Who me? Yes, you! Couldn’t be. Then, who . . . what . . . when . . . where, . . . why?
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