DEAR MR PRIME MINISTER:
I speak for the citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Maybe not everyone, but I venture to say, that if they dug deep, and thought about it, most everyone would genuinely agree. There will still be people that think they are smarter than the rest, smarter than you, and that know better than you. There will always be people that believe that you make all your decisions by political motive, and there is nothing you can do about those people. They are who they are, and they will be who they are, from now until the end of time. In the past, and in other circumstances, they may be right, but COVID-19 is different.
Our message here is unequivocal. We don’t envy your job. We know you are trying to do what is right. The part we citizens seem to miss out on, is even if you are doing something for political purposes, it is to please the largest percentage of your constituents, which is us. We have to stop thinking that every action, every comment, every day, every hour, is politically motivated, we have to understand that politically motivated means you are trying to please the majority of “US.”
No matter what anyone in Antigua or anywhere has to say, COVID-19 was and is the blow of all blows; all bets are off, all rules are out the window. It is your job to make decisions that allow our country to survive, figuratively, literally, financially, emotionally, and even at the end of the day even politically.
No government on planet Earth has gotten it right. Not a one. Not a single one will come out unscathed. Not a single one has not made many mistakes. This includes governments that have unlimited resources, the best healthcare on the planet, and can allocate trillions of dollars at a moment’s notice. They have all made mistakes. There is no precedent in existence that says a small government on a Caribbean island is not going to make mistakes as well.
Our message to you is this. Do what you think is right. We are all in this together. You will face fallout no matter what the decision, so listen to the smartest people, but do what is in your gut. If there are people in your administration that are fighting you, know that we elected you, not the Chief Medical Officer, and we never agreed for Pathologist to set public health policy. We did elect you as the Prime Minister, and we did elect you to lead us. Not just in the good times, but in our darkest hours as well.
This island MUST open back up. We have an unprecedented opportunity as being a destination haven for the United States and Europe over the next six months like no other opportunity we have ever seen. Embrace it.
With the staggering increase in COVID-19 cases throughout North and South America, especially throughout the United States, it is time we take a step back re-group our thoughts on how we solve this Pandemic.
When naysayers chastise you for not having COVID-19 tests available, or for visitors not wearing masks, or for American Airlines transporting passengers to Antigua with COVID-19, push it back on us and say TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY ON YOUR OWN. When we complain that a guest at Sandals is not wearing a mask in a restaurant, tell us to protect ourselves and mind our own business. No one would come to Antigua for a holiday if they have to wear a mask when they are at a restaurant or bar on resort property, they can go to many other places.
Tell us if we are high risk, stay away from people without masks. Tell us if we are high risk, don’t work at a resort for now. If we live with our grandmother, tell us to think about living elsewhere for a while if we are going to be in elevated risk scenarios. Don’t make people believe the island is going to be wiped out by this. Tell them that 80% of the people that contract COVID-19 will have minor or NO symptoms at all. Tell them the truth as you know it. Don’t exaggerate, don’t embellish.
Everything in life is not about the government; part of it is about personal responsibility. We MUST open this island, or we will starve to death. The far-reaching consequences of not doing so will be catastrophic in the long run and far outweigh the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Don’t worry about making excuses. Businesses and Governments are not designed to run with ZERO revenue. You can’t fix the hand you are dealt. You can only make the best play you know how.
Don’t worry about the fallout. Don’t worry about equality. Tell people the truth. Tell them they have to protect the people that are at high risk. You can’t do this on your own. We must stop ditching the government and must start learning to take responsibility for our own lives, and our own future.
Thank you for everything you are doing, and God bless Antigua and Barbuda.
A CONCERNED AND SUPPORTIVE ANTIGUAN