Last night the Premier of Bermuda indicated his intention to place additional Covid restrictions on the people of Bermuda, which will hopefully arrest the spread of this deadly virus. The people of Bermuda understand the reasoning behind this decision as they see, and feel the effects of the exponential growth in the number of positive Covid 19 cases in Bermuda: the increasing number of hospitalized cases, the number of critical care patients and deaths. They also acknowledge the additional stress being placed on our hospital and our healthcare system.
As a country that has been through Covid 19 spikes before, most people in Bermuda expected these more restrictive measures, and as a consequence, the seven day “stay at home” policy which will take effect at 5 am tomorrow, was no surprise. Having said that though, what is aggravating to the people of our country, is how ill-prepared the Government’s back office is for the latest lock down, and their lack of operational support details given on how things will operate given during the stay-at-home policies and regulations.
Poor planning from the government
As hundreds will technically find themselves out of work tomorrow, the OBA has been inundated with questions from people from all walks of life who are already very stressed and concerned about the time that it will take to receive their unemployment payment benefits to take care of their families, Likewise, business owners are stressed and some are depressed because this could actually be their last straw, and they can ill afford to wait weeks or months to receive economic support from, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, to help sustain their businesses.
These people and businesses take the view that operational measures should have been presented on Sunday evening when the stay-at-home order was presented. They were expecting to see that all of the mandated measures were properly thought out and presented in an appropriate and systematic manner.
Impact on Caregivers:
Other impacts involve care givers. Today, they are running around looking for Certificates of Exemptions, which will allow them to obey the law and be ready to be at work to support our seniors, and vulnerable loved ones tomorrow. The same applies to grocery store workers, pharmacists, longshoremen and other essential front-line workers. It’s not just them – last night I was advised that the Government employees who issue these certificates are still waiting for direction.
On the Covid mitigation side., taking 48 hours to deliver a positive result is unacceptable because an asymptomatic positive case can infect at least 8 people over a four-day period. We must have these results delivered with 24 hours.
Enforcement for Covid restrictions?
When it comes to enforcement of the Emergency Powers Covid Regulations, there is a real sense within the community that it is just not working, and that the Government continues to be soft on crime. Time and time again this issue has been raised at many of the Government’s weekly press conferences and the Premier continuously reiterates the fact that this is a matter for the Governor to address, as it is under her purview. Given where we are today, this refrain does nothing to improve the enforcement of these regulations, In light of this, I recommend a coordinated approach, I take the view that the Governor, the Premier, Opposition Leader, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Bermuda Police Commissioner, to meet on a regular basis to specifically address and resolve the deficiencies which plague the enforcement of Covid-19 regulations.
SailGP and local sporting events:
Another thorny Covid-19 matter is the issue of SailGP, which is scheduled for April 24 and 25. Like many Bermudians, I have seen a few teams practising in the Great Sound, and what a spectacular sight it is, However, the question is: “Will this event continue as planned with our stay in place restrictions?” If it does, let me state that it will be a lightning rod for most of Bermuda’s sporting bodies who have been unable to host sporting events and competitions for the past year. On Sunday evening when asked about this event, the Premier indicated, that he would work with the organizers of the event to ensure that the event and its participants adhere to our Covid 19 protocols and regulations, He did not state whether or not this prestigious eventwill proceed. What is most irritating to our national sporting bodies is the fact that this year is an Olympic Year in Tokyo, and our elite athletes who have qualified, or are trying to qualify for this event or other qualifying events, cannot train locally to the extent that they would like to due to the Covid19 restrictions.
Lastly, what is incredulous to the One Bermuda Alliance is that this Government defamed the OBA Government when we hosted the 2017 America’s Cup, by calling it a rich white man’s sport, and yet this government now supports SailGP which is an offspring of the same very successful white rich man’s event, while at the same time, they inhibit training opportunities for Bermuda’s local athletes and her elite athletes. Where is the equity?
The Hon. N.H.Cole Simons JP MP