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By Jermaine Figueira, MP
With the extremely high rate of increase in cases of COVID-19 here in Guyana, it is most mind boggling and unthinkable that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the National Sports Commission, the Director of Sports, the Guyana Football Federation, the Ministry of Health and most importantly the National Covid-19 Task force, would give permission for the hosting of the GFF/K&S year-end Futsal Competition.
What is most concerning and very worrying is that while other groups are refused permission to hold similar events, the PPP/C is willing to risk the lives of Guyanese to permit a group that supports its political agenda to host a super spreader event amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. In our view no group should be given permission at this time, but the government seems committed to enriching its elites, family, friends and cronies at the expense of the lives of the people of Guyana. The government needs to end this practice and not politicize Covid-19.
This super spreader event saw the attendance of hundreds if not thousands of Guyanese in and around the venue congregating clearly without observing the Covid-19 protocols, specifically the wearing of face masks and social distancing.
A reliable source has confirmed that at the super spreader itself, the Prime Minister insisted that entry to the game be brought to a halt because they had exceeded the numbers they were permitted to host the event in a safe environment. Unfortunately, the PM’s position was overridden and the K&S group was allowed to increase their income at the expense of our people losing their lives. The PPP/C should desist from enriching their cronies at the expense of our people’s lives.
It is a known fact that Covid-19 is still with us and the most easily transmissible variant “Omicron” is here and has contributed to the rapid increase in cases among our people, especially our youth. In this regard, it is also imperative and most important to note that decisions such as those and that of the Ministry of Education will continue to place our people at risk. The Ministry of Education’s decisions will have serious repercussions for children, teachers and other staff. This is already manifest in the increase in Covid-19 cases that are occurring as a result of face to face classes without the requisite protocols being observed and a safe environment being created.
While we are committed to the development of sports and our children being educated, the regime cannot recklessly place our children, teachers, other staff and our people at risk. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports need a comprehensive plan to facilitate the education of our children and the promotion and development of sports in a safe environment. At present no such plan and environment exist.
Additionally, one cannot ignore the fact that vaccinated people are increasingly being infected this time around and some have died.
Super spreader events allow for the congregation of large groups of people and more than often, result in infections and the rapid increase in the spread of the virus.
Clearly, the various subject ministers are failing the people of Guyana. This is, therefore, a clarion call for the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health to pull their socks up and give leadership when our country needs it most to preserve and protect the lives of our most valuable resources, our youth, our women, our elders, all of our people. Your reckless abandonment of our people has to come to an end.
It is time to stop this nonsensical and very dangerous approach which is costing lives. End the double standard and politicization of Covid-19. It must be treated as a matter of urgent national importance that involves all stakeholders with the aim of bringing the pandemic under control. The ball is in your court to stop putting our people’s lives at risk and bringing the pandemic under control. Our people deserve no less.