COVID-19 tourism backdoor – frontdoor scenario, a poison of choice

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Denys Springer is an educator and freelance writer trained in social sciences, labour studies and industrial relations, education, conflict, resolution, and mediation. Denys Springer lectures part-time at the Open Campus UWI in Saint Lucia on supervisory management – the psychology of management.

By Denys Springer

The “gloomy messages” coming out of Grenada that a cluster of 26 positive COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed, originating from the Sandals Resort,” ostensibly has no relation to a back door scenario, but moreover, the front door entry should serve as a reminder to Saint Lucia’s prime minister Allen Chastanet, that Grenada has a #real prime minister in Dr Keith Mitchel; and a health department equipped to fire the shots (with names and specifics) irrespective of short-term economic consequence and a drop in the country’s revenue of more than $200 million. Grenada has shown that it puts its people and the rule of law first and foremost.

That said, I need to also remind our prime minister of Denis Winston Healey first law of politics “when you are in a hole stop digging”. Moreover, don’t use “flashing mirrors” the not even the chief medial office in Saint Lucia can deflect, relative to fisherfolk and COVID-19, that makes clear “not that I know of”.

While the situation in Grenada is a clear and imminent danger to public health, the outbreak is worrisome to all Caribbean nations.

Media reports from Grenada on December 13, 2020, stated:” Sandals Grenada has been ordered to evacuate all guests as health officials in Grenada grapple with the country’s worst COVID-19 crisis since March. Health minister Nickolas Steele said they have ordered the all-Inclusive hotel to move their guests off the island as quickly as possible and to divert all other expected arrivals to other hotels in other countries. An investigation is taking place to determine why, when and how the virus was able to spread at the hotel.”

The question remains:

  • Where will the Sandals guest from Grenada be sent to complete their vacation?
  • Is it to nearby Barbados, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, etc.,?
  • Should the Caribbean still be opened to allow non-essential travel, trade and tourism from documented epicentres of COVID-19?; and,
  • If so, under what medical and scientific conditions, vaccines or no vaccines?

We cannot afford to put our workers and children at risks for a quick dollar –  that is insufficient to care for medical cost when we fall sick. And we cannot afford this burden on the state, as our hospitals don’t have the facilities to deal with a severe outbreak out of any kind.

In addition to this, there are concerns of a “purported signed agreement” between a healthcare service provider headquartered in Bengaluru, India, and the government of Saint Lucia.

Recently prime minister Chastanet, said, he is a “product of Canada”. All be it, an expired product of Canada conveys more care and detail to procedure, protocol, health and safety standards.

The recently introduced COVID-19 wardens is an example of trusted United Workers Party (UWP) operatives to support employment on a selective basis (according to a few reports related in person) that also attributes to political positioning. Ideally, this expenditure from the consolidated fund should have been better mobilized to assist in protective protocols and to mobilize the public to behavior science, medical news and communication, the implementation of vaccines and corrective changes in Saint Lucian society.

But perhaps the government is better equipped to accept its failings, with the implementation of a more tragic legacy that continues failed recommendations. And granted, that the prime minister of Saint Lucia has little positive comparisons to a #real prime minister in Grenada – and given that the so-called prime minister in Saint Lucia is deficient in many undertakings, including his ability to sanction the hospitality sector to a level of compliance, that continues to jeopardise lives is conspicuous.

According to the prime minister Chastanet on Tuesday, “we have a lot of confidence in the tourism bubble that we have created,” apparently oblivious to the inherent risk in the hospitality sector, tourism and trade from the epicentres of COVID-19, and that a so-called leader is expected to prevent the situation from escalating.

In Grenada for example, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling for an inquiry to be set up under the Commission of Inquiries Act and is “calling on the governor-general to set up a Commission to inquire into the circumstances leading up to the breaches of the legislation that have now resulted in the disease being transacted by locals who have no travel history.”

In Saint Lucia, however, a press release from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) advances “strict adherence to guidelines” […] “ with over 7,000 employees and ancillary service providers back on the job. Since reopening the borders to international travel six months ago, the destination has welcomed over 25,000 visitors.”

Saint Lucia maintains a COVID-19 Level 3, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amid the title of ‘World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’. I urge you to read with a clear understanding the inference projected, albeit short of dimension by the minister for tourism, information and broadcasting, culture and creative industries Dominic Fedee.

“As we stand together in this fight against COVID-19, all key sector agencies will continue to work in tandem in developing public and private sector initiatives while dedicating significant resources to the island’s COVID-19 response. The tourism industry is committed to this cause and we acknowledge the hospitality sector’s adherence to these procedures. We have every confidence that Saint Lucia will continue to offer the safest possible environment for visitors and nationals,” he said.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association, added: “Over the past few months and in collaboration with the ministries of health and tourism, the SLHTA has facilitated many online health and safety training workshops for our hospitality workers. Our hotels, restaurants, attractions and other accommodation and tourism service providers respect and understand the importance of strict adherence to protocols throughout their daily operations.”

As per the government of Saint Lucia, December 15, “the total number of cases diagnosed in the country is 278. There are 31 active cases and four COVID-19 related death. As countries open their borders, and social and economic activity increases, the risk for transmission also increases. Saint Lucia, just like the rest of the world remains at high risk for the introduction of COVID-19. Our main risks include increased number of returning nationals and visitors from areas of high incidence of disease, illegal entry through the borders, nonadherence of protocols, breaches to home quarantine and hosting of mass crowd social events.”

The consistent approach by the government of Saint Lucia seems to support language and the revitalization to the “superiority complex disorder” that “colonialism had a conscience” and the systemic reason, to cherry-pick our poison.

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