Today’s protest in Linden

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Today the once thriving mining town of Linden will see mass protest. This is a protest that should have never been had the government listened to the pleas of citizens and organisations to manage the pandemic differently. From the initial exclusion of stakeholders to making vaccination mandatory, to using the Sputnik V vaccine which is yet to be approved, to the controversy surrounding the sourcing of a batch, by the World Health Organisation, to locking out healthcare workers and those seeking care because they have not taken the vaccine or produced a negative COVID-19 test, to making vaccine mandatory.

There are so many other issues surrounding the pandemic. This litany of concerns are long and serious enough to attract the government’s attention and a rethinking of its strategy.  It is anyone’s guess why the government remains adamant in doing what evidently has widespread rejection, when governments in other countries are tweaking their approaches in response to concerns and opposition expressed by their citizens.

Right here in the Caribbean, the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, to name a few, have modified their strategies. Modification did not affect the goals of these countries in managing the pandemic via the refocusing of approach in alignment with the people’s concerns. Guyana does not identify among these countries which is most unfortunate.
The time is always right to do what is right. The government needs to accept that re-calibrating strategy is not weakness or caving in. Rather, it suggests demonstration of respect for citizens, listening to them and addressing their concerns in the management of the pandemic. Guyana would find it difficult to suppress the virus in a game of political up-manship or tug of war. All Guyanese, or at least most, have to be on the same page in order to achieve any measurable success. This is not happening.

There are also growing concerns the government’s attitude is intended to antagonise and alienate communities in the society. If this is true the government needs to rethink its approach. If it is not true the government needs to, as a matter of urgency, set the record straight and work with all stakeholders. For the umpteenth time Village Voice is urging a different approach in managing the pandemic.

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It is this publication’s opinion that the management of a national crisis requires the involvement of all in order to solve. It is also necessary to repeat that there cannot be selective approaches in observing COVID-19 protocols and what is perceived as the targeting of only some sections in society. COVID-19 is real as the consequences of being infected with the virus. Also real is that all is not well in Guyana when it comes to the management of the virus, and the government needs to pay heed that the consequences will be likewise. It is time to reset relations and strategies.



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